Brookfields is the site of the Brooklands Bowl race circuit and the old Vickers Aircraft R&D facility. It’s now a cars & planes museum. Well worth the visit if you’re in London. When I visited a few months ago, there was a military vehicle show going on as well as the usual museum displays. Here’s some photos.

There were Landrovers.

Lots of Landrovers

No really, lots

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and lots

...and in the interests of transatlantic partnership, a jeep, to go with the deuce and a half (?) hiding in back of the photo above.

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Actually there were two or three jeeps, you can just about see them behind “Lt Gruber’s little tanks”, which were part of the relatively small “not a Landrover” contingent

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The Scammell Explorer below looked totally out of place in its Harlequin pant job, and was actually a bit cheaty as it’s a 1950s civilian model. Its military older brother, the Pioneer, was one of the first kitset models I built as a kid. They were the main heavy gun tractor, recovery vehicle, and tank transporter of the British Army in WW2. Despite being only 6x4, they had incredible traction due to a patented articulating bogie that gave over 2ft of suspension travel. The UK being in the state it was in the postwar years, the 1950-ish “update” of the Pioneer to the Explorer appears to have mostly consisted of a bigger engine and a longer hood.

The WW2 Scammel’s smaller counterpart was the AEC Matador, used mostly for towing 5.5in guns - though hopefully not to anywhere you wanted to get in a hurry, as it has a top speed of 30mph, and according to the owner is pretty terrifying at that speed. The Matador has the distinction of beinf one of the first “technicals”, as trucks with a 6 pounder mounted in the loadbed were used in the North Africa campaign. It’s also, to my eyes, pretty much the most “British” looking vehicle in the history of ever. That sad face is the picture postcard for “Another day, another shitty war. Keep calm and carry on and we’ll grind the bastards down eventually”.

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Its successor, the Bedford RL, is nowhere near as loveable, though arguably more successful and certainly longer lived - I can remember the NZ Army tooling around in these as recently as the late 80s.

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And as a teaser to the actual museum, which’ll probably get a photodump at some point:

Dambusters “bouncing bomb” prototype (developed on this site by Vickers’ resident mad genius Barnes Wallis):

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Napier Railton aero-engined special, holder of the current (and all-time since half the bowl’s been demolished) lap record of the bowl at 143mph:

The bowl itself. Standing on this thing - or struggling to stand on it: the photo doesn;t convey how steep the top of the banking is - and imagining doing almost 150mph around it gives you a true appreciation of just how insanely fearless the early race drivers were.

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