Wartime vehicles to go on show on seafront

Historic Aero Engines wow the crowds at last year's festival Picture: GYBC

Historic Aero Engines wow the crowds at last year's festival Picture: GYBC - Credit: Archant

The roar of Britain’s engineering prestige will be heard on Great Yarmouth seafront when two wartime engines are showcased as part of the GY Wheels Festival this weekend.

The free festival takes place from 10am on both days and is an opportunity for families and enthusiasts alike to get up close to some very special motors, in addition to enjoying other fun activities.

To support the festival’s ethos of educating and inspiring young people about engineering, engine enthusiasts from Historic Aero Engines will be demonstrating two vintage engines: a Rolls-Royce Merlin and a Bristol Hercules.

The Rolls-Royce Merlin Mk500 engine was originally fitted to an Avro Lancaster bomber that saw service in the Second World War.

In 1945, the engine was fitted to an Avro York transport aeroplane and, in 1950, fitted to a bomber for the Spanish Air Force. It was returned to the UK in the 1970s and used in a research facility for some years before current owner David Irwin acquired it in 2007. He completed an eight-year restoration programme in 2015.

The Bristol Hercules Mk216 engine was fitted to a Handley Page Hastings, C Mk2. This engine was recovered from a museum in Yorkshire were it had been left untouched on display for many years. Patrick Smart and Peter Irving rebuilt the engine as a ground-running example.

Other festival attractions include bespoke hotrods from the National Street Rod Association (NSRA), a selection of modified cars from Modified Nationals, displays from the East Coast Pirates Car Club, Autobahn Stormers Club, Norfolk BMW Car Club, and the Norfolk Mini Club, as well as a dealer’s village showcasing new-registration models.

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The free event is organised by Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

The GY Wheels Festival is sponsored by Great Yarmouth Borough Council, the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area and Joyland and the American Diner.

Barry Coleman, chairman of the council’s economic development committee, said: “Historic Aero Engines participated for the first time last year and their demonstrations were hugely popular, really adding something special to the atmosphere of the wider festival, which is about boosting visitor numbers, spend and the economy.”


On the Saturday, up to 15,000 motorcyclists are expected to visit for the festival, arriving between 10am and noon. Then on Sunday, the Centre 81 Classic Car and Bike Run will arrive on the seafront, between 11.30am and 5pm.

Central Marine Parade, between the junctions with St Peter’s Road and North Drive, will be closed to traffic between 7am and 10pm on the Saturday and until 7pm on the Sunday, with a signed diversion in place.

The taxi and coach stops along North Drive will not be affected.

Motorcyclists will be routed onto Marine Parade via St Peter’s Road and roads to the south.

The car parks at Anchor Gardens, Marina Centre North and South, and Jetty North, plus the closed roadway of central Marine Parade including the landau lane, will be designated parking zones for the motorcyclists and Wheels exhibitors, who will be guided by traffic marshals. Access will be maintained for pedestrians and emergency vehicles.