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Four-wheeled stars of comedy classic go on show - here's where

Genevieve starred John Gregson and Kenneth More as rival entrants in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run <i>(Image: Louwman Museum)</i>
Genevieve starred John Gregson and Kenneth More as rival entrants in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run (Image: Louwman Museum)

TWO veteran cars that starred in a classic British comedy have gone on show at one of Hampshire's top attractions.

They are being displayed at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Genevieve, the Bafta-winning movie released in 1953.

It features two friends, played by John Gregson and Kenneth More, who decide to enter the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

Daily Echo: More than 20 million people have visited the National Motor Museum since it opened in 1972
Daily Echo: More than 20 million people have visited the National Motor Museum since it opened in 1972

More than 20 million people have visited the National Motor Museum since it opened in 1972 (Image: Newsquest.)

The event is not a race but Alan McKim (Gregson) and Ambrose Claverhouse (More) turn it into a fiercely competitive contest, with each devising devious ways to sabotage the other.

The two cars - a 1904 Darracq called Genevieve and a 1905 Spyker - are set to prove popular with visitors to the museum.

Andrea Bishop, director of collections and engagement at the attraction, said: "Film buffs and motoring enthusiasts will, I’m sure, revel in celebrating this classic Ealing-style comedy and its role in inspiring the preservation and driving of historic cars in Britain."

McKim is a young barrister whose wife Wendy is played by Dinah Sheridan, who went on to find fame in the 1970 comedy The Railway Children.

Claverhouse is a brash advertising salesman who is accompanied by his latest girlfriend, a fashion model played by Kay Kendall.

Daily Echo: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is among the exhibits at the National Motor Museum, which opened more than 50 years ago
Daily Echo: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is among the exhibits at the National Motor Museum, which opened more than 50 years ago

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is among the exhibits at the National Motor Museum, which opened more than 50 years ago (Image: National Motor Museum)

A museum spokesperson said: "Although timid by today’s standards, their exploits won millions of admirers right around the globe and also fuelled unprecedented interest in the veteran car movement.

"Following their time at Beaulieu the cars will visit the Royal Automobile Club in London."

The Darracq was found among piles of junk on a rundown London estate shortly after the Second World War and bought for £25.

The new owner located a two-seater body but lacked the time and money to restore the car and sold it to Norman Reeves, who oversaw the vehicle's renovation and named it Annie.

Daily Echo: The late Murray Walker lived in the New Forest and was a frequent visitor to the National Motor Museum
Daily Echo: The late Murray Walker lived in the New Forest and was a frequent visitor to the National Motor Museum

The late Murray Walker lived in the New Forest and was a frequent visitor to the National Motor Museum (Image: National Motor Museum)

Film director Henry Cornelius cast the reborn Darracq in his forthcoming movie and christened it Genevieve after the patron saint of Paris, where the car was originally built.

Mr Reeves soon got tired of all the publicity surrounding the vehicle and sold it to a new owner in Australia.

Genevieve eventually returned to Europe and went on show alongside the Spyker at the Louwman Museum in The Netherlands. But both cars will spend the summer and autumn in Britain to mark the film's anniversary.

The movie will also be the subject of a lecture by Andrew Roberts at Beaulieu on October 7.