Betws-y-Coed Motor Museum

Since next year is designated Museums Year in Great Britain and the first ever world symposium of motor museums will be held at Beaulieu, the time seems ripe to consider some of the less well-known examples.

So we went for a look at the museum at Betws-y-Coed in Gwynedd. This is conveniently situated beside a big public car park, the cars housed along both sides of the gangway in a pleasant, oak-beamed building which is soon to be extended.

Almost without exception the exhibits were in immaculate order. They numbered the ex-Lady Mary Grosvenor Riley MPH, number three of its kind, a fine Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith and an unusual T57 Bugatti, its bonnet open to show off its gleaming twin-cam straight-eight engine, with a two-door four-light saloon body of rather ugly appearance said to be by the Belgian aeroplane-maker Oscar Tips. In sharp contrast was a shiny all-black Model Y Ford Eight, and there were also a couple of three wheeler Morgans, Owen Wyn-Owen’s smart 1928 Aero with sv JAP engine and a 1934 Matchless-engined example.

The first car to catch the eye was a 14hp vintage Standard tourer with those rigid side-curtains common to the make, and a Pratt’s can on its offside running board. Other exhibits were a couple of PA MGs in rebuild condition, a smart 1936 TA MG, a Bertelli Aston Martin saloon (BLL 358) waiting for replated outside exhaust pipes and lamps, and examples of Arial Square-Four, Triumph Speed-Twin and Norton motorcycles.

A heavily-chromed, sectioned Sunbeam 1000 engine and gearbox shows how things work and the kiddies are catered for by two small Model T Ford replicas and, for the braver child, a Jomoro Lotus racer with 6hp engine which is said to do 50 mph. in addition, there is a Rolls-Royce Avon gas-turbine, and Wyn-Owen has contributed a 1911 bath-chair and a Victorian three-wheeled pram. WB