Haynes Museum: great cars, shame about the chef’s attitude

The husband loves cars, eldest son is a petrolhead, what’s the mother to do? Convince them to go fossil hunting when it’s raining. Don’t think so. Follow the family to the Haynes Motor Museum and take her camera to keep boredom at bay. More likely.

Sparkford is only up the road from us, just off the A303 north of Yeovil. Haynes happens to be the largest motor museum in the UK so it’s bound to keep the boys occupied. The famous red room is quite impressive with all sorts of beauties from the obvious Ferrari, to other names car fanatics will expect: Austin Healey, Triumph, Lamborghini Countach, AC Cobra, MG…

This is a feast of mainly British and American cars all lined up behind a red rope in several halls. Whilst I understand that in our sad world expensive cars have to be protected from idiots that may damage them, it is somewhat frustrating not to be able to see the back of most cars or any other angle for that matter.

Thankfully, there are a few exceptions for the very special cars. Husband and son voted the XJ220 Jag the one they wanted to take home. If only. At least they were able to walk around and admire. I was able to get close and click. Found some wonderful reflections in the curves of the cooling system. (or whatever the holes on the top of the bonnet are).

One car I had never heard of -although it is an absolute legend for American petrolheads I’m told, is the 1931 Duesenberg Model J. Now I can see why it would be a legend. Only eight were ever built and the blue model on show at Haynes is the only one outside of the States. It will come as no surprise it’s the most expensive car in the museum. It certainly is an absolute beauty of a car. An ode to craftsmanship. The thing is huge and chunky and yet still manages to look curvaceous and sexy.

An other little number at the other end of the scale, also curvaceous but not so financially valuable is the 2CV. An icon in its own right, it makes me nostalgic. My uncles had one and it does really represent ‘La France Profonde’. This particular one does look like it has had a long hard life which is how it should be. I don’t care much for the newer shiny ones.

Now if you happen to get hungry, just a little word of warning. Make sure that you get to the cafe before 2 pm. Being on holiday and all, we got there at one past (I kid you not) and the chef was switching the lights off above the food, making sure that all potential customers queuing (all six of us) could hear that he was very busy and there would be no more hot food. Over and out. Prima donna was whispered when his back was turned. Probably wasn’t just an off day then.

Captive audience cafes often bug me. The ones with helpful and smily staff that have decent food work. I’m quite happy with home made cakes and tea if need be. How difficult is that? And smiles should be a given.

Thankfully the chap talking cars back in the museum was totally passionate, friendly and knowledgeable. Wheelchair bound he zoomed around, smiled, said hello and sure knew a thing or two about his cars when asked. I think he is secretly in love with the Duesy. (the big blue American curves). Can’t blame him. Even I can see the attraction.


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