The Spirit of Brooklands – Captured in Colour
A unique Brooklands photo shoot by Marc Vorgers
The special 1920ies and 1930ies atmosphere of these glorious years on Brooklands track, the world’s first purpose built motor race circuit could, until now, only be experienced thru old black & white and sepia photographs and old film footage as presented in our article ‘Brooklands Giants: Men & Machines 1907 – 1939'. The old banked track between Weybridge and Byfleet, located south-west of London, was between the two World Wars an enclosed world fully dedicated to the ‘lure of speed’. Speed on the ‘cement’ and in the air. Within the circumference of the track racing cars and aeroplanes were designed and built, the site housed engineering and tuning firms, a flying village, flying schools and an airstrip. On the track many world and class records were set by manufacturers and amateurs and the most daring raced with home built racing cars powered by massive aero engines. The competitive element was always joined by friendly comradeship. During these golden years’ enthusiasts from the British upper class discovered Brooklands as an exhilarating alternative for the old established horse racing events. Members enjoyed their weekends at Brooklands by following the action from the ‘members hill’, playing tennis on several courts, having a pick-nick or visiting the bars and restaurants. Brooklands was the place to be and the slogan ‘The right crowd and no crowding’ was very applicable indeed.
The last race on the Brooklands track was held just before the Second World War in 1939. During the war the old circuit was heavily damaged. Post war reconstruction and re-opening of the track proved to be impossible. Large parts of the old circuit, the club house and many other buildings on the site escaped destruction. Here one finds the Brooklands Museum which is dedicated to keep the important Brooklands history and heritage alive for us and for future generations.
After admiring all the old Brooklands black & white photos we were curious how the historic races, the speed duels and the site would have looked in real live colours… In cooperation with the Brooklands Museum we decided to recreate the 1920ies and 1930ies atmosphere through a special photo shoot. Historically important cars were taken from the museum collection and volunteers were dressed like racers of the period. This unique photo reportage connects the fabulous past (in sepia colour) with the present day in brilliant colours - as you can experience it yourself at the Brooklands Museum.
In the reportage you see the red 1922 TT Vauxhall compete in a speed duel with the 1923 Aston Martin Special ‘Razorblade’ in a 1920ies ‘handicap race’ in their original habitat. You see the 1930ies competition materialized thru a fragment of the 1935 ‘500 Miles Race’ in which the winning Napier-Railton overtakes a dark British Racing Green Bentley 4.5 Litre under the ‘members bridge’. Brooklands action captured as never before. Furthermore you can enjoy photographs of the cars taken from unique angles on the track and see the magical beauty of the Brooklands club house, the BP pagoda, the ‘members bridge’ and the scenery: The Spirit of Brooklands – Captured in colour.
BELOW you can watch the 'making of' video!