The legendary hillclimbs up the Rest and Be Thankful road have been re-created for a dramatic display at the new Riverside Museum in Glasgow.
Seven classic cars took part in the re-enactment, which will be used in a display that tells the story of the notorious races up Scotland’s most famous – and most demanding – stretch of road.
The old Rest and Be Thankful road winds its way up from the floor of Glen Croe to the pass west of Ben Arthur – aka the Cobbler. Ascending it was an exhausting effort for the early automobiles, horses and drovers alike, hence its name.
But the Rest’s legendary status as a racing venue rose during the 1950s and 1960s when fearless racing drivers tested their mettle on the steep, hairpin-riddled road. Racers such as Jackie Stewart and “speed king” Basil Davenport helped seal the road’s position in Scottish motor sport’s hall of fame. The current road, the A83, opened in 1941, and follows the edge of Glen Croe, way above the old road.
As well as the film, the display at Riverside will see classic cars positioned on a rising “road” that follows the curve of the Zaha Hadid-designed museum. The display itself was designed by Event Communications.
Drivers from classic car club Friends of the Rest and Be Thankful took part in the re-enactment, which was filmed by Glasgow-based software firm 55 Degrees. Camera and sound crews positioned in key locations captured the cars as they came roaring up the glen. The cars included a 1924 Bugatti Type T, a Daimler Dart, an Austin Healey 3000, an MG MGA, a 1910 Ford Model T, a 1930 MG M-Type Midget Boat Tail Speedster, and a Cooper MG once driven by Stirling Moss.
Accompanying the racing footage will be in-car commentary, and interviews with former drivers and spectators from the 1950s and 1960s races, when hundreds of people perched amid the heathered slopes of Glen Croe to watch the races. For the en-enactment, curious passers-by and nearby residents lined the route.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Trustee of the Riverside Museum Appeal, said: “It’s wonderful that the Rest and Be Thankful and its historic hillclimbs are being immortalised in the new Riverside Museum. They’re an important part of Scotland’s motoring heritage, and I’m extremely grateful to the Friends of the Rest and Be Thankful and the communities of Arrochar, Ardlui, Tarbet and Succoth for their help in making this exciting film.”
Andrew Davidson, owner of Glencroe Farm and the old road, said, "I'm delighted that the Rest and Be Thankful hill climb was used to film footage on the old road for the new Riverside Museum display. It was a joy to watch fellow members of the Friends of the Rest group re-creating the road’s glory days in their classic cars."
Gavin McLellan, Director of the Riverside Museum Appeal, said: “The dramatic re-enactment of the Rest and be Thankful hillclimb is another example of the public support for the new Riverside Museum, with so many people giving up their time to support this film. With opening day just over two months away, there’s still time for everyone to have a place inside this new museum. A donation to the Riverside Museum Appeal will ensure that your name or that of someone you love will be a permanent presence inside the museum, just like those who starred in this exciting re-creation. We’ve raised £4.2million and have less than £1million to go – a terrific achievement. To donate online, please visit www.riversideappeal.org or text the word ‘Riverside’ and your name to 70700 to give £5.”
Riverside Museum and The Tall Ship Glenlee opens to the public on 21st June at 10am.
Notes to Editors:
The Riverside Museum Appeal (RMA) is a charitable trust established to raise £5 million in sponsorship and donations from companies, trusts and individuals for the development of the new Riverside Museum. To date, it has raised £4.2 million.
The Riverside Museum Appeal is the second major capital appeal undertaken with Glasgow Museums. It follows the hugely successful refurbishment of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
The £5 million fundraising target is a fundamental element of the partnership-funding package. It represents the private and voluntary sector’s contribution towards this exciting and innovative project.
Of the £74 million needed for the development of the Riverside Museum, Glasgow City Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund have committed £69 million.
The Riverside Museum Appeal Trust is recognized as a Scottish Charity SC 033286. For more information go to www.glasgowlife.org.uk or www.riversideappeal.org
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. To date it has invested over £500 million in Scotland's heritage.