During WW2, the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers under Major Ivan Hirst restarted the old Volkswagen factories. Production of the Beetle helped Germany find its feet and the humble car went on to sell in its millions for decades. In 1948 the first Beetle was exported to the UK, arriving in black it was treated to a two tone Oxford and Cambridge blue paintscheme by the importers Colbornes. This car was offered to the REME museum in Aborfield as part of a display in honour of Hirst and his work. And it was at this musuem, 10 minutes from home that Lily and I found ourselves on her birthday morning. With lots of family and friends due to descend on us at 2pm we left Kim at home to finish the preparations in peace whiler we got in an hour or two of Volkswagen spotting. Rolling in through the gates the carpark was already full of old Dubs with the promise of even older ones out the back so we saddled up and headed in.
Having been to the museum a few years ago we aimed straight for the vehicle hall to check out the big military beasts and the VW display
Outside in the sunshine there was some very old metal lined up. The first UK import, I was lucky enough to get hold of the keys to this car a few years ago to get some close up photos.
We bumped into a few faces during our walk round. Snapper David was there in his lovely red splitscreen crewcab that is definatly not "some old pickup!"
There was a large military Dub presence on the field.
As well as plenty of civilian cars, all from the late 40s and early 50s. I'm not that hot on my early stuff, but theres something about a split rear screen that looks so right.
Vans were out in force too, with everything from stock panels, to custom campers.
With time running out and not wanting the party to start without the birthday girl, we had a last chat to some friends and grabbed our goodie bag and headed home. Along with the usual stickers and badges I was pleasantly surprised to find a bottle of Volkswagens finest "spicy ketchup!
Sadly with defence cuts the barracks at Aborfield are due to close soon and along with it the museum. REME has been just up the road for so long that I'll miss the place once its gone, the random machinery parked up for display or just being worked on is always a highlight of a drive past the gates. Hopefully the museum will get another resting place and the show can continue.
Weekend Motorsports Roundup, May 25-26, 2013
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