Heard the one about the E-Type, the super-model & the museum?

Bexhill Museum chariman John Betts with television presenters David Harper, Jodie Kidd and director Ollie Sloan
Bexhill Museum chariman John Betts with television presenters David Harper, Jodie Kidd and director Ollie Sloan

VRRMM! Antiques expert David Harper brought a growling E-Type Jaguar V12 to

a halt on De La Warr Parade on Wednesday afternoon - and out stepped supermodel Jodie Kidd.

The celebrities were on a mission – to meet Bexhill Museum chairman John Betts.

Scottish Television director Ollie Sloan was filming the trio for an edition of Celebrity Antiques Road Trip.

John Betts was showing the 6ft 2in model, whose hobbies include motor racing, where the sport had its UK origins.

Watched by massive crowds over the Whit weekend of 1902, the 200 competitors in Britain’s first international motorsport event had swept down Galley Hill to race along the measured kilometre of what was then the Eighth Earl De La Warr’s private cycle boulevard.

As John Betts explained, motor racing was taking the Continent by storm.

French driver M. Leon Serpollet had just taken a world land speed record in a steam car of his own design at Nice.

The Earl was developing Bexhill-on-Sea into a fashionable Edwardian seaside resort.

A pioneer motorist, Automobile Club member and Dunlop tyre company director, the Earl jumped at the chance to put the town on the motorsport map.

Standing near the first of the Motor Heritage Trail illustrated panels which today tell the story, the museum chairman explained how M. Serpollet gained the Bexhill Motor Trials’ fastest speed – 54mph.

Cut to Bexhill Museum, and Ollie Sloan’s camera went into action again as John showed Jodie and David around the Technology Gallery with its unique Bexhill linked threesome.

The visitors went from a replica of the Serpollet “Easter Egg” – so named for its early attempt at streamlining – to the Bexhill designed and built 1958 Elva Mark III sports/racer and to the 1993 Volta electric car designed and built by St Richard’s Catholic School students and holder of a 106.7mph world land speed record. When edited down, an afternoon’s intensive filming will take up just four minutes of a show due to be screened in the autumn.

But for the independent, voluntarily-run accredited museum in Egerton Road it will

be invaluable publicity.