During the summer, weather permitting, there's a short daily parade of antique cars. It's great to see these old machines moving, like this 6 horsepower, 1903 De Dion-Bouton Model Q that was owned by the museum's founder.
When you first enter the grounds you're greeted by an unexpected sight: a monorail. The first in England, actually.
For more about this tour, check out Car stars of the big and small screen at Britain's National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.
This is the original Reliant Regal from the British sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
Of the 8 cars in the parade, nearly all were over 50 years old, and most were way more than that. The only one that didn't start? A 2002 Jaguar XKR. Though in its defense, it was a highly modified one from the movie Die Another Day.
A spot-on reproduction of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. One of the cars from the movie is inside.
Did you know the movie was based on a book by Ian Flemming (he of James Bond fame), with a script written by Roald Dahl? The '60s were wild, man.
The grounds also include the ruins of an ancient abbey, but we're more interested in the "ancient" vehicles.
One of only 250 of Volkswagen's ultra-high-mileage XL1s, capable of 0.9 liters per 100 kilometers, or about 260 miles per gallon.
Though the footprint of the museum isn't huge, they pack a lot in. On the right, the iconic Citroën 2CV.
This is one of the engineless cars they used for the green screen (back then they were blue) in the movie.
On the right, a Ford Model T from 1914. Next to it, a Vauxhall C-Type from 1915, aka the Prince Henry. The latter was only used for eight years, then stored. It's largely unrestored but in surprisingly great condition.
The Jag on the left is a replica, but the Allard J2 on the right is original and was raced by Sydney Allard himself.
Designed before WWII, the RT was long-lived and very successful. This example was in service until 1976.
Six of these oranges were built for publicity for Outspan Orange company. The wheelbase is 60% of the Mini it's based on. Apparently 200 pounds of ballast was needed to keep it from flopping over in any sort of turn.
The Humbug Major was the biggest of the machines made for the movie. It made candied apples and lollipops.
The Little Dragon Carpet Sweeper is clearly the precursor to the Roomba.
This is the Bluebird-Proteus CN7, a land speed record holder, topping out at 403.1 mph (648.7 kph). It's powered by a 4,000-hp gas turbine.
Another land speed record holder, the Sunbeam 1000 HP from 1927. It was the first car to go over 200 mph (322 kph). It was powered by two 22.4-liter V12 aircraft engines. It had, despite the name, around 900 hp.
One of the best Anglo-American hybrids, the AC Shelby Cobra. The 7-liter engine developed around 425 horsepower.
This example raced at a number of UK and European races, including the 1966 Targa Florio.
On its own, I'm sure the '80s redesign of the Lotus Esprit would look fine, but compared to the all-angles original? Seems bland in comparison. This is undoubtedly a better car, however.
Personally, this is my favorite Anglo-American matchup. I guess, Anglo-Italian-American is more accurate. With the still-stunning Vignale-designed body, a massive Chrysler V8, the Jenson Interceptor (also, great name) is one of my favorites and always a stunner.
One of the coolest parts of the museum is the collection of Top Gear vehicles. You might recognize this as the Ski Jump Mini from 2006's Winter Olympics Special.
This is an additional Reliant Robin built for the 2007 episode where they launched... and then augured in the Top Gear Space Shuttle.
The van from the same challenge, just fished from the sea.