A Welsh Museum

Many years ago we looked at the Pembroke Motor Museum and the other day, when needing parts for two A7s, we obtained these from the shop at the Llangollen Museum, in the Welsh town where canal, narrow-gauge steam railway, and this display of the older cars combine to form a tourist attraction. The Museum dates back to 1980, when the Broadhurst family engineering company took over the Sun Garage, itself dating back to the 1920s, where repair work continued under the son of the Edwards who had founded this business.

The garage then closed down and last year the Museum exhibits were transferred to a shed by the canal bridge at Pentrefelin, just off the A542 road leading to the Horseshoe Pass. This building was apparently a fountain-pen factory in 1912 and was later used as a crushing-plant for the local silica quarries, until these were worked out, after which it became an engineering works. Now, in this town where the A5, A539 and A542 roads meet, the Museum, with its workshop and stores supplying parts for older as well as new cars, occupies the site, approached by an “interesting”  sweep of road down to the river Dee. It is open seven days a week in summer, five days a week in the winter, at an admission charge of 75p.

The exhibits are in the nature of those which would have been used by ordinary car owners some time back, rather than exotic sports-cars or historic veterans. Indeed, the oldest is a 1926 10/26 hp Singer tourer, which has been used on the Continent. In fact, we were assured that all the cars are runners, five of them being taxed at the time of our visit. The venture began when Ted Broadhurst tired of the Motor Trade and yet could not bear to sever all connections with cars. He acquired a 1935 Riley Nine Monaco saloon, to restore and use. He then set about doing the same with other cars, those which now constitute the Museum exhibits.

Rather like a breakers’ yard in which all the cars have been made presentable, and which run, someone said, except that no longer do such yards exist … Running over the cars lined up along both sides of the shed, one saw Ted Broadhurst’s own Mk. VI Bentley and beside it another in process of reconstitution, a 1949 Land Rover with the original gearbox (a spare power unit is held for this because, as Ted philosophically observes, if you don’t have spares something breaks the first tirne you take a vehicle out!), a 1936 Wolseley 14 saloon with the six-cylinder ohv engine, a Daimler Conquest Century, with another outside the building, a 1930 Jowett Grey Knight flat-twin saloon, with a later long-wheelbase Jowett saloon having repairs done to a split water jacket surrounding its long inlet-tract, a 1938 Sunbeam-Talbot Ten with the rare dh coupé body, a 1938 Hillman Minx saloon, a 1931 Standard Big-Nine saloon used up to 1983 and regarded as the most comfortable car in the collection, this one kept company by a 1937 side-valve 1,608cc Standard Flying-Twelve, and a 10/4 Austin saloon.

Then there was a Berkeley three-wheeler with the 328 cc Excelsior Talisman engine, which may be sold, and a number of motorcycles, including a Vincent Comet, a 1947 Douglas and a 1930 350 cc Royal Enfield, some models, and the usual contemporary advertising plaques decorating the walls, the models embracing one of those racing Austins childrens’ pedal cars made by disabled Servicemen after the war and a similar-sized Rolls-Royce intended for electric propulsion. The Llangollen Motor Museum has about 2,000 visitors a year and its helpful attitude to those requiring spares, etc., was emphasised by the attempts being made to get roadworthy a very smart 1952 Ihd Mercedes-Benz saloon owned by a Dutch visitor, which had broken its crown-wheel and pinion during a rally the Museum had organised the previous weekend. I was told it specialises in supplying sparkling plugs, from which I can’t get away! — W.B.