IT began as a modest one-day show with just 75 stands selling a comparatively small range of motoring items.

Over the past half a century the International Autojumble at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, has grown into a 25-acre event attracting 40,000 visitors from all over the world.

The word “Autojumble” has even found its way into the Oxford English Dictionary.

Now the annual two-day extravaganza has won a top award, landing silver in the Tourism Event of the Year category at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2014.

VisitEngland’s chief executive, James Berresford, said: “We received hundreds of applications of an extremely high quality this year.

“Winning silver is therefore a considerable achievement and one of the highest accolades for excellence in tourism that VisitEngland can bestow.”

The museum received the award from VisitEngland’s chairman, Penelope, Countess of Cobham.

Judith Maddox, Beaulieu’s events manager, said: “The International Autojumble, now in its 48th year, is the oldest and most prestigious of our events.

“It’s held in high regard within the motoring industry so it is especially rewarding for it also to be recognised by the tourism industry as one of the leading tourism events in England.”

A museum spokesman added: “The International Autojumble began in 1967 as a one-day show with 75 stands.

“It became a two-day event in 1979 and today boasts more than 2,000 stands occupying an area of more than 25 acres and attracting 40,000 visitors from all over the world.”

The award coincides with a similar event called the Spring Autojumble, which is taking place at Beaulieu this weekend.