It’s easy to whine fondly about the British motor industry in the past tense. And it is true, we have somewhat lost our way when it comes to mass production, the glory days long behind us. Although we do still have some wonderful marques still making fabulous cars – Jaguar, rolls Royce, Bentley, Land Rover. All foreign owned though.
But there is still one arena of the motor industry where we still excel. When it comes to making fast cars, we rule the world. McLaren are a force in Formula 1 – judging from the performance on the opening Grand Prix this season, they are the ones to beat. Britain still also holds the World Land Speed Record. Thrust SSC destroyed the old record back in the 90’s, whilst smashing through the sound barrier. And surely that sort of speed must have ruined the drivers underwear.
Another British team plan to better that record though, and smash the 1,000mph mark with Bloodhound. They’re brave. People chasing speed records have to be brave. Donald Campbell was one of the bravest, and his Bluebird car one of the most spectacular machines ever to be made. I went to see Bluebird, along with the Golden Arrow, at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu. It’s a treasure trove of automobiles, including some legendary old F1 cars, a Rolls Rolls Silver Ghost and a number of land speed record setters.
There’s also a Top Gear exhibition and a James Bond exhibition. The former is a little bit ‘meh’. Actually it’s very ‘meh’. If you were thinking of going for that part alone, think again. The latter is much better. James Bond cars rock. Photos on Flickr and Google. The Flickr set is better – it contains my Instagram photos as well. I do like Instagram…