New Zealand Rolls-Royce & Bentley Club Inc - The Enthusiasts ...

New Zealand Rolls-Royce & Bentley Club Inc - The Enthusiasts ...

New Zealand

Rolls-Royce &

Bentley Club Inc

Issue 12-1, 2012

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 1



CHAIRMAN Michael Midgley

RD 1, Culverden, Nth Canterbury 7391

Phone 03 315 6445 or Mobile 0274 148 145



242 Sunnyside Road, R.D.3 Albany 0793

Phone: 09 448 2248



4/3 Karitane Drive, Cashmere, Christchurch

Phone 03 332 6387 or Mobile 021 786 652


TREASURER Philip Eilenberg

3B 21 George Street, Parnell, Auckland

Phone: 09 374 5901 or Mobile 021 928 041



85A Wharewaka Road, Taupo

Phone 07 377 4117



204a Waiwhetu Road, Lower Hutt

Phone 04 566 0850 Fax 04 586 2937 Email


1 Wickliffe St, Mosgiel 9024

Phone 03 489 5774 Email


191 Sparks Road, Christchurch 8025

Phone 03 339-8309 or Mobile 0275 880 767


WEB MASTER Bob Barbour

27 O’Leary Road, R.D.1 Pokeno 2471

Phone 09 236 6556 or Mobile 027 280 7902



85A Wharewaka Road, Taupo

Phone 07 377 4117



CHAIRMAN Glynn Williams

24 Franklin Road, Freemans Bay, Auckland 1011

Phone 09 378 7632


SECRETARY Susie Williams

37 Maxwelton Drive, Mairangi Bay.

Phone 09 478 3995 or Mobile 021 367 683




204a Waiwhetu Road, Lower Hutt

Phone 04 566 0850


SECRETARY Martin Taylor

24 Rangiora Avenue, Kaiwharawhara, Wellington

Phone 04 470-7666



CHAIRMAN Keith Hunter

1/12 Heywood Terrace, Richmond, Christchurch 7391

Phone 03 315-6445 or Mobile 0274 148 145



191 Sparks Road, Christchurch 8025

Phone 03 339-8309 or Mobile 0275 880 767



The Bentley badge and Bentley name are registered trademarks of

Bentley Motors Limited.

The Rolls-Royce badge and Rolls-Royce name are registered

trademarks of Rolls-Royce plc.


MEMBERSHIP of the New Zealand Rolls-Royce & Bentley Club, Inc is open to anyone with an interest in these two

distinguished marques, whether or not they are the owner of a Rolls-Royce or Bentley. Your Membership SUBSCRIPTION

includes the Club Magazine (6 issues annually), the right to attend all Club events and activities, and to partake in Club


FEES: Registration Fee $ 10.00 (once only)

Membership Fee

$115.00 (annual, reduced to $100 for prompt payment)

Family membership $ 5.00 (annual)

CONTACT Membership Registrar NZ Rolls-Royce & Bentley Club, Inc

Rob Carthew, 85A Wharewaka Road ,Taupo

Phone: (07) 377 4117 Email: or ,


Club Shop


From the Shadow’s Corner by Cal West, Product Support Manager, Rolls-Royce Motors Inc, USA. A compilation of

technical articles, specific to the Silver Shadow and its derivatives, reprinted from The Flying Lady. We include a set of

reprints of Know Your Silver Shadow from the Club magazine in recent years. $80 per copy including P & P.

Silver Cloud/S Series Reprints 1955-1966: A compilation of technical articles from The Flying Lady specific to these

cars. $20 per copy including P & P.


The Company’s Construction Records, which accompanied every Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis (since 1931)

through its production at Derby or Crewe, are a valuable resource for subsequent owners. They detail the original order,

any special equipment, and the results of tests and inspections prior to dispatch. The records for all cars over 10 years

old are held by the RREC in the UK, and copies are available to members of that Club. The number of pages for early

cars may be up to 20 or more. Records for a Silver Shadow can amount to even more pages and cost around $NZ150.

To obtain a copy of your car’s records, contact the Club’s Post WW2 Technical Liaison Officer, Roy Tilley, on 04 566

0850 e-mail

ADVERTISING – pages 22 to 27

Classified advertisements pertaining to Rolls-Royce and Bentley are free to Financial Members who do not deal

regularly in Rolls-Royce or Bentley cars or services. All classified advertisements must be submitted to the

Editor, Tom King, Phone 03 339 8309, e-mail 191 Sparks Road, Christchurch 8025.

Commercial advertisements will be the subject of a charge to the advertiser. Colour advertisements are charged

at $220 per half page and $300 for full page, payable to the NZRR&BC Inc.

Sister Clubs

Many of us belong to several motoring clubs, ranging from the Automobile Association to perhaps the

Zundapp Fanciers’ Club, and including along the way the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand; the oldest

established British clubs, The Veteran Car Club, The Vintage Sports Car Club, and The Bentley Drivers’

Club; and our sister clubs, The Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club of Australia, The Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts

Club in Britain, and The Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club in America.

All these clubs produce excellent magazines, and your editor is lucky enough to receive our sister clubs’

publications on behalf of our Club on a quid pro quo basis. They are held in the bit of the library which

is at 191 Sparks Road, Christchurch 8025, and SAE will have copies speeding to anyone interested.

Otherwise, the current strength of our dollar might make membership of other clubs more practicable than

usual, and membership of RREC is £87 annually, plus £30 one-off joining fee.

The Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club in North America has made the following announcement, through Sabu

Advani, the editor of the RROC’s The Flying Lady.

“Digital Memberships - The Virtual Way to Go! Members outside of North America are NOW eligible

to join the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club as an International Digital Member, at less than half of the cost of

traditional club members—just $US30. This eliminates two key obstacles for overseas recipients of the

magazine: shipping cost and transit time.

The exact details of this new programme are still being evaluated and may change once we have a better

idea of what people desire. Meanwhile, contact RROC HQ to sign up—and do tell your

friends who might be interested in this new option but would have no way of learning about it unless you

tell them.

“In addition to The Flying Lady as a PDF file you will receive The Event Lady and the Luxury Travel Guide

by email, and you will have full access to the RROC’s website including the Discussion

Forum which gives you instant, 24/7 access to advice and feedback from members worldwide on how

to repair and restore your motorcar. Last but not least, this level of membership will also give you the

opportunity to vote in RROC elections by email.”

From the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club of Australia we have received “Overseas Subscription for Præclarvm:

Præclarvm is pleased to announce that it is now able to accept subscriptions directly from Overseas Rolls-

Royce and Bentley enthusiasts. The cost is $A99 per annum worldwide (postage inclusive).

All enquiries should be directed to: RROCA Præclarvm Overseas Subscription, the Treasurer, John

Hiscox, 74 Rose Avenue, Wheeler Heights, NSW, Australia, 2097 or email:

CLOSING DATE FOR NEXT MAGAZINE: Deadline for receipt of all material for Issue 12-2 is 22 March 2012.

Cover:John King’s photograph was taken at Makarora during the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand’s 1972 International Rally.

The Bentleys are Bob Beardsley’s 4½/3 litre, chassis SL3065, and Geoff Owen’s 3 litre, chassis 1215. The chap in Gents’ Natty

Shirting is John’s co-driver, Peter Felton. Your editor was supposed to have filled that role, but got married instead.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 2

Mainland Comment

Well, let’s just forget 2011, with its disasters natural, man-made

and man-exacerbated; the losses of family and friends, livelihood

and material; so here’s to 2012 and its opportunities. So far the

summer in The Mainland has been dry and pleasant (unless you

are a farmer) while in parts of The Appendage we hear that it has

been quite wet. One advantage of being on holiday is the absence

of news, whether papers, radio, or television, and no longer is

there the need to reach for the off or mute buttons once members

of the Click family (or their relatives the Argh-Clicks) appear.

We spent a week with family in Sydney, where New Zealand was

not mentioned at all in the news, and the Australian Broadcasting

Corporation’s classical station was featuring the compositions of

some of the American songwriters from the era when they were

worth listening to.

During our last afternoon we visited the home of Margaret and

Barrie Gillings. Time passed very quickly during the tour of the

garden, where Barrie specialises in bonsai trees and about sixty

varied citrus trees, and has devised ingenious irrigation systems

draining from large rainwater tanks with micro-switches activated

by the difference in weight between dry and wet “wettex” cloths.

He is the world’s leading authority on Rolls-Royce mascots, and

showed us the process he where employs his dentistry skills to

reproduce duplicate mascots on commission. These are used to

replace the originals, which can then be placed in secure storage,

and the cars used happily.

We went for a drive in Barrie’s very early Bentley T Type.

Chassis SBH1288 puts it in the first three hundred Silver Shadows

or Bentleys built. It was bought new by a visiting Australian in

1966, and well cared for over a low mileage since, with Brewster

Green paintwork having replaced the original grey. There was

time to look at the Rolls-Royces in the basement. They comprise

“Christopher,” the 1910 40/50 Chassis 1492 (get it?) which Barrie

bought in 1958, ‘Mona” the 1930 Phantom II Hooper Limousine-

Landaulette 147GN which they bought in Britain in 1961, and the

1926 20 h.p. GZK12, re-bodied in 1934 by Martin and King as a

saloon in place of its original Barker tourer body.

Barrie and Margaret had invited other Sydney based members of

the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club of Australia over that afternoon,

and it was a pleasure to meet David and Diana Berthon; Brian

Crump and Steve Berveling; and David and Linda Neely.

Margaret Gillings edits the New South Wales Newsletter London

and Derby and was the first contact your editor had with the sister

clubs beyond New Zealand. That was particularly important in

our raising and maintaining the standard of our magazine. David

Berthon has taken over from Margaret the editorship of the

quarterly Newsletter of the 20-Ghost Club Australian Chapter

(Inc), our member David Neely was of course editor of the

RROCA’s Præclarvm for seven years, and Brian Crump is the

new President of the N.S.W. Branch of the RROCA. As a strange

coincidence, there were two copies of the Rolls-Royce Phantom II

catalogue to hand, and in this photograph David Neely and Brian

Crump are noting the differences in listed coachwork and prices,

while Barrie Gillies is ready as always with his camera.

Before we had to dash away on great-nephew retrieval duty, it was

a pleasure to be part of the obvious fun this group of enthusiasts

and friends have. The N.S.W. Branch is organising the Federal

Rally during the autumn of 2014, and what fun it would be to be

present, even as observers, at that event.

As we go to press the Vero Rally is under way, with many Club

members participating and organising, and it should be a great

event. The cover picture was taken by John King during the 1972

Vintage Car club of New Zealand’s International Rally.

We are priviliged to have permission to reprint Tom Clarke’s

article about Neville Minchin on Page 7 in this issue. Tom is one

of the leading Rolls-Royce historians of our generation, and it was

a pleasure to meet him, as well as Bernard King, at the RREC

Annual Rally at Castle Rockingham last year.

Our new member Alan Race has advised that the image on Page

3 of 11-6 is not of their Silver Spirit SACSZ003FCH13705, but

depicts its replacement in Henry and Joy Green’s motor house.

Sorry, Alan and Jill; here is Alan’s photograph of the correct car,

taken on a recent visit to Oamaru.

The following notice has arrived from an Auckland friend: “Latest

petition to save Western Springs Speedway in Auckland. If you

don’t like the way people move close to circuits and then complain

about the noise, the Western Springs Speedway in Auckland is one

the ‘THE’ venues you/we all must try to protect. Please follow

the link below & sign the petition (and don’t forget to forward

the petition to other people you think would like to support this

historic venue)”

Ray and Sandra White

P.O. Box 109177


Auckland 1001

‘Phones (09) 420 4881 and 0274 886 186

2008 Bentley Continental GT Speed

New Members

Geoffrey Going

42 Carlton Road

Pukekohe 2120

‘Phones (09) 238 0685 and 0274 511 4341986

1986 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Chassis SCAZS0001FCH13038

Registration 1 ROYCE

In June 2013 the Rolls-Royce EnthusiastsClub is organising a Centenary Celebration of the Rolls-Royce success in the 1913 Alpine Trails.

Their Past Chairman, Tony James, writes: “If you or any of your colleagues would like further information, please contact the prime organiser of the

rally, who is Len Meades - e-mail or Tel: +44 (0)1346 730 373.”

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 3

Southern Region Report

Geoff Walls, our National Secretary, had the idea

for a summer picnic run, incorporating a drive

home to take advantage of the long summer

evenings, when the countryside blooms in

the late light. Original plans were for a Banks

Peninsula event, but we instead went north,

through the limestone country of the Weka Pass,

meeting at cafés at Leithfield and Amberley.

With four Rolls-Royces, six Bentleys, and

twenty-three people, we gathered for lunch at

Waiau and on the Leader River to the north. We

descended upon our National Chairman to see

progress on his house, and had an early dinner at

the Rotherham Hotel.

The long daylight was particularly appreciated

on the drive south to Christchurch, as Geoff’s

Mark VI Bentley kept cutting out at the most

inconvenient times, and the hazard flashing

system on one of the more modern Bentleys on

the run was useful for letting traffic know that

we had a problem. The problem was solved by

George Calder, who found that a second capacitor added to the

ignition circuit beside the distributor seemed to be fighting with the

probable original equipment still installed, and after elimination of

(Above) Southern Region cars, six Bentleys

and four Rolls-Royces, three from Derby and

seven from Crewe, parked in the small North

Canterbury town of Waiau.

(Left) Ramon Farmer, in his copyrighted shorts,

is pointing out the differences between the

Lucas R100 headlamps on Gavin Bain’s 1935

Bentley 3½ litre Thrupp & Maberly saloon

B29FC, and those on his 1937 4¼ litre Park

Ward saloon B175KU, to Karen and George

Calder. That is their Mark VI H.J. Mulliner

saloon B67HP in the background.

(Below) Our Past Chairman Dr Henry Green

and Joy had an early start from Ashburton

in their Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit, chassis

CH57139, to join us at Amberley, so elected

to stay the night in Culverden, after dinner at


surplus bits, and thorough cleaning of contacts, Geoff has enjoyed

flawless running from B274MD.

Thanks, Geoff, and to all members and friends who attended.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 4

Dynamic Crankshaft Balancers

by Eddie Riddle

The crankshaft dynamic balancer on my 20/25 needed an overhaul. It is of the later low inertia type.

These notes are meant to assist fellow owners resolve the problems of replacing the fabric washers.

In general the details given in RR/E5 are followed. Addition information was obtained from Rolls-Royce Small Horsepower Engines.

This is an excellent book published by the Rolls-Royce EnthusiastsClub. (Editor’s Note: to his regret, he does not have this book, but

Roy Tilley is happy to copy its wisdom from his, and a stamped addressed envelope to Roy will have it added to yours.)

Once the balancer was dismantled and cleaned it became obvious that all the friction surfaces would need to be re-ground. This was

straightforward except for the surface on the spring plate. I used the back flywheel as the mounting and bolted the spring plate to it with

the friction surface facing outwards. It is necessary to fit packing material between the flywheel and the spring plate to stop it flexing

when grinding is attempted. The correct packing is 0.375 inches. I used some spare tool steel pieces. This packing is just sufficient to

stop the spring plate from flexing while the surface is re-ground.

Grind all the surfaces so that they are flat and free from any pits.

Now the problem of new friction washers; I decided to try using a different material. (I couldn’t locate any canvas washers anyway) A

suggestion was made in the Rolls Royce Small Horsepower Engines book to try using a material called “Tufnol”.

“Tufnol” is a material used extensively in the electrical industry for insulation. It comes in various shapes like tubes, solid rod and sheet

form in a range of thicknesses. It is unaffected by oil and is easily machined.

I started by machining up two washers cut from 1.6mm sheet. This is the thinnest they make.

The outer diameter is 5.875” and the inner diameter is 4.1875”. Check the maximum diameter that you can fit into the rear flywheel,

mine was as stated.

It will be necessary to thin down these washers by grinding.

My original cotton washers were 0.045” thick. They were obviously worn so I started by reducing the thickness to 0.055”. Upon trying

them for thickness in the damper I could just get slippage to occur at 25lb. I was aiming for slippage at 12-14lb. After much trial and

error I achieved the desired slippage. The discs were now 0.05”.

In order to assist anybody making new discs of the correct thickness the following are the actual dimensions of my friction surfaces.

Rear flywheel 0.385”

Centre plate 0.068”

Spring 0.115”

Tufnol washers 0.05”

Some hints that may be of assistance.

• You must remove the glazed surface of the Tufnol. Use fine wet and dry sandpaper, about 280 grit.

The ground friction surfaces must be true to the face of the flywheels. 0.001” is enough to cause trouble.

The discs must be parallel and radially true.

• Ensure that there is no disc material particles trapped in the friction surfaces.

• Oil all friction surfaces on assembly.

I found any of these points are sufficient to give inconsistent results.

Cadillac Plastics are the NZ agents for the Tufnol range of materials. Their advice was to use “Tufnol Lynx” for the washers as this

material is recommended for clutch plates and frictional couplings.

Cadillac Plastics are a NZ and worldwide firm, and very willing to sell small quantities. My material cost $12 for two discs.

When it came to making a mandrel to mount the balancer on for slippage tests, I machined up a piece of 1.5” exhaust tubing with the

necessary fingers cut in the end so as to fit into the centre plate. I found no need to go to the trouble of making the mandrel out of solid

with a matching taper. The tube worked fine.

Having read the excellent series of articles written by Michael Forrest with regard to slipper drives I decide to try his method of

obtaining cotton washers. (Editor’s Note: these Rolls-Royce EnthusiastsClub Bulletins are held in your editor’s library. A stamped

addressed envelope will have them in yours.)

There are a series of articles, which appeared in Rolls-Royce EnthusiastsClub Bulletins, as follows:

“Slippers” B212 pages 52-59 Sept/Oct 1995

“Ladies Page” B213 pages 40-45 Nov/Dec 1995

“Cotton Slippers” B214 pages 38-46 Jan/Feb 1996

The Slipper Drive” B223 page 51 July/Aug 1997

“Slipper Saga Sequel” B226 pages 58-60 Jan/Feb 1998

The article, “Ladies Page” was the basis for my attempt to make cotton washers. I followed the instructions to the letter with the

following additions:

The required wick is 7/8 inch wide.

The correct length (using Michael’s formula) for my 20/25 drive is 17.178 inches measured linearly.

The cotton wick available in this country is made somewhat differently from that which is described in the article.

• If you look very carefully at the structure of the wick you will find it has a thread running across the wick at each weave change. The

best place to see this is to fluff out the end of a piece of wick by dividing the two sides of the wick with a screwdriver or some such

tool. The thread is now apparent.

• Start by cutting this thread somewhere in the middle of the piece of wick to be thinned. It is now just a matter of picking the thread

back to the boundaries you have marked. You must make sure that the thread is actually back to the boundary and not one thread

less. Trouble is brewing if you don’t.(guess how I am so sure) At this point you will have the strands of the wick with nothing tying

them together. This is what you are striving for. Now cut back the one side of the wick as described in the article. In my case it was

12 or 13 strands depending on which side of the wick you choose. Each strand is made up of three separate pieces of cotton.

• Pay particular attention to removing the correct side of the wick as detailed in the article, otherwise you get a lump at each end of the



My washers turned out just fine. The proof or otherwise will be in how long they last.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 5

Fitting an Additional S.U. Fuel Pump by Eddie Riddle

A low-pressure SU pump was added to my 20/25 during the

restoration. The reasons were twofold, one in event of a problem

with the Autovac on a run, and two as a means of starting the motor

when the Autovac had no fuel in it without the risk of flattening

the battery.

The pump was fitted alongside the Autovac, and mounted on the

firewall. In my case the positioning of the pump was very limited

due to space. Other positions were considered, such as between

the fuel filter and the carburettor, and in the fuel line between the

Autovac and the fuel filter. The position chosen was the best in

my case.

Wherever the pump is positioned several points need to be noted:

• If the pump is inserted in the fuel line to the Autovac

input, it will be necessary to fit a stopcock in the line

above the pump inlet point but below the input to the

Autovac. This is because the Autovac outer tank is open

to the atmosphere and the inner tank will be empty hence

the pump will simply suck air rather the fuel from the

supply tank.

• If the pump is positioned in the other sites mentioned

there would still be a problem. Once the carburettor bowl

is full, the pump will continue to pump fuel, this time into

the Autovac via the fuel valve with nothing to limit the

flow. It will eventually fill the Autovac allowing fuel to

flow out for the top of the Autovac and onto the exhaust

pipe. This problem also exists in the site I choose.

• A low-pressure SU pump will lift fuel at least 30” above

its inlet point before it starts to fail. The problem is worse

for the later high-pressure type.

• Special precautions were taken to ensure that deliberate

steps must be made to run the pump. The aim was to

avoid accidentally running the pump and have the

Autovac operate at the same time.

Filling the carburettor when the Autovac is empty

Fit the removable plug, shut the stopcock and allow the pump to

fill the carburettor bowl, about 20 seconds is plenty. REMOVE

the PLUG, and open the stopcock

There is provision on the SU pump mount to fit a special plug.

(the plug is kept in the glove box)

• Close the stopcock in the input pipe to the Autovac

• Fit the special plug (it will only fit one way)

• Turn on the ignition switch

Let the pump run for about a minute. The time is not critical, as

the aim is to fill the carburettor bowl and get some fuel into the


• Turn the ignition switch off.

• Remove the special plug

• Open the stopcock in the input pipe to the Autovac

• Start the motor as normal

Operating the pump if the Autovac fails

If it becomes necessary to operate the SU pump during a run then,

the suction pipe to the Autovac should be disconnected at the inlet

manifold and a blanking plug fitted to the manifold. The stopcock

should be closed. The pump is supplied with electricity via a

removable plug, which is fed the ignition switch.

“Tee” pieces were fitted to the pipe from the Autovac to the

carburettor and the pipe from the fuel supply valve to the inner

tank of the Autovac. See the drawing sheet for details of the

mounting bracket for the pump, and the special “Tee” fitted to the

fuel pipe feed to the Autovac.

The ‘Tee” in the pipe from the Autovac to the carburettor was

fitted close to the union on the Autovac, Shorten the length of the

“T” as much as possible, cut the pipe (remove the equivalent length

of the “T”) and solder in position at the correct angle. Standard ¼”

copper pipe was used to connect to the pump.

The “Tee” in the pipe from the fuel valve to the Autovac requires

careful positioning, The “T” outlet should be about 2.5” above the

fuel valve union and pointing towards the radiator. A short piece

of flexible fuel line was used to connect to the pump. This “T” is


George Urquhart’s

grandson during the

recent engine overhaul

George has undertaken

on GSY12 in preparation

for the Vero Rally at

Wanganui, clearly

showing that George’s

car has an additional

Autovac fitted in place

of the S.U. fuel pump

mentioned in Eddie

Riddle’s article.

Space constraints in this

magazine have meant

that George’s account

and photographs will

appear in 12-2.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 6

A Silver Lady Under My Bonnet: Neville Minchin, an Appreciation

© Tom Clarke, 2002

Author’s note: this article first appeared as a booklet to accompany the Rolls-Royce Foundation’s reprint in 2002 of Minchin’s crime

novel ‘N.7’ (hard to find in the original) and the first-ever publication of his novel ‘Murder in the Monte Carlo Rally’. This publishing

milestone was initiated and heroically researched by Mrs. Mermie Karger of Pennsylvania. The two books with the booklet are available

from the RROC’s Store at 191 Hempt Rd., Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., PA 17050 for $40.00 or from the RREC Club

Shop. The novels make memorable reading with their many Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars prominent.

1. An historic 1913 line-up of three 1908

Darracqs that had raced in the Four Inch

Tourist Trophy race on the Isle of Man 24 th

September 1908 (with engines of 100 x 160

m.m. 5027c.c.). From the left, Malcolm

Campbell (1885-1948) in LN-870; Kenelm

Lee Guinness (1887-1937) in LN-9513 which

he drove into 2 nd place; and Neville Minchin

in his Darracq as acquired from Campbell,

seen carrying his usual registration BJ-578

and which came 3 rd in 1908 driven by Arthur

George. The photograph first appeared in The

Autocar on 3 May 1913 but Minchin claimed

it was taken on the indicated 19 th July 1913 on

the image, the day of Campbell’s wedding and

outside his house in Bromley, Kent. Minchin

wrote to Veteran & Vintage Magazine (June

1969 p.285 and November 1969 p.60) to

submit the photograph and to explain that it

was in the summer even though the trees were

bare! However, English weather isn’t that

bad and it is clear that the photograph was

taken much earlier in the year, around April,

and simply signed on the day of Campbell’s

wedding. In 1914 Minchin acquired from Campbell his 50/60 h.p. Darracq, a ‘Blue Bird’, which Minchin modernised with a Mann Egerton body, 4-

speed gearbox, and Rudge Whitworth wheels before ‘attaching’ BJ-578 once more. It was later sold in Ireland and lost in a fire.

Throughout his long life Neville Minchin was a Rolls-Royce man in every sense. As a member of the upper middle class, and

with ample means, he mixed with many distinguished figures. As a businessman he knew Rolls-Royce as a company and was friendly

with Royce and Ernest Hives (later Lord Hives, Works Manager at the company). As a motorist he extolled the virtues of the Rolls-

Royce through his ownership of many different models. And as an author he wrote two motoring classics and a more minor work which

put Rolls-Royce at the forefront. In fact, without Minchin much information about Rolls-Royce history and its aura would have been


Early life

George Robert Neville Minchin was born at Windsor, Berkshire, on 24 th September 1888, the son of Professor George Minchin.

His parents were Irish and their Catholic faith sustained Minchin all his life. One branch of the family, the Bells, enabled Minchin to

claim his great uncle as Alexander Graham Bell, the Edinburgh-born inventor of the telephone. As Minchin relates in ‘Under my bonnet’,

his father was professor of applied mathematics at the Royal Indian Engineering College at Coopers Hill near Englefield Green in

Surrey. All his life Minchin relished mentioning the great and famous whom he knew or met so it is no great surprise to learn that Queen

Victoria herself once stopped her carriage in Windsor Great Park to examine Minchin in his pram! He attended Scaitcliffe Preparatory

School at Englefield Green, and from 1902 Tonbridge, a fine

public school in Kent, before going up to Christ’s College at

Cambridge University in 1907 and taking his M.A. in 1910.

The family had moved to Oxford around 1908 when Professor

Minchin joined Queen’s College.

The first motor-cars

His days at Cambridge saw Minchin confirmed in his

love of sporting cars. He learned to drive on an Argyll in 1907.

In those halcyon days of Edwardian England and in the early

post-War years he kept company, both on the track and socially,

with the racing fraternity. Guy Knowles (later the originator of

the Iris ‘I ride in silence’ car) became a great friend. A fellow

undergraduate was E. H. Lees who in due course came to own

the original 1911 London to Edinburgh Silver Ghost chassis

1701. Minchin drove this car several times, sometimes reaching

78 m.p.h. His own transport at Cambridge was more mundane,

a 1905 3 h.p. Triumph motorcycle purchased in 1907, replaced

soon after with a 1907 model and several others. In 1910 he

Minchin’s first car in 1910, a Sizaire et Naudin, registered BJ-578.

bought a single-cylinder Sizaire et Naudin car from Mann

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 7

Egerton which, like other sporting motorists, he used untaxed! Twenty-six further cars followed, mostly high performance types. They

were all registered illicitly as BJ-578 (the plate formerly on a steam traction engine) which Minchin had ‘picked up’ off the floor when

buying the Sizaire and had not registered with the authorities!

The 40 h.p.


which Minchin

called a 20/60

h.p., and his then


Married and business life

In 1914 Minchin first married Gwendolen Maud Slack (b.1891), the daughter of Sir John Bamford-Slack (d.1909) and step-daughter

of architect Sir Banister Fletcher. It seems there was a divorce after 1938 and she predeceased him on 10 th September 1975. On 20 th

November 1940 (though not recorded in official records) Minchin next married Miss Gladys (middle name Grace) whose family

name also cannot be traced and whom he affectionately called Gipsy. There were no children of either marriage. The life Minchin and

Gwendolen, and then Minchin and Gladys, had together was a very sociable one of travel, race meetings, and tennis parties. Minchin

competed in tennis tournaments although his motoring interest did not extend to participating in races. He preferred to stay on friendly

terms with the famous racing drivers who attended Brooklands and Continental events. Not only did he have a gift for friendship but

perhaps too an eye for what was good for his battery business.

Pritchett & Gold later merged with the Electrical Power Storage Co., founded in 1882 and Minchin served here for the rest of his

business life, becoming chairman in 1939. It was his link to Peto & Radford who supplied batteries for Rolls-Royce cars that brought

him into contact with Henry Royce (1863-1933). In the last years of the nineteenth century Pritchett Brothers were agents in the south of

England for Royce Ltd. dynamos. These were used with Pritchett batteries for domestic electricity in country houses. Later, as Pritchett

& Gold, the company had new factories at Dagenham in Essex (opposite what would later be the gigantic Ford works) and it was for

Pritchett & Gold that Royce made an electric motor in 1902 for use in a Pritchett motor-car. Pritchett & Gold, in association with E.P.S.

Ltd., went on to absorb parts of the Tudor Group (when Tudor’s European opera tions were broken up), and Peto & Radford whose works

were initially in Ashtead, Surrey and headquarters at 50 Grosvenor Gardens, London S.W.1. Batteries were sold under the “Dagenite”

name derived from the Dagenham works. One of their advertisements proclaimed ‘Right for Rolls-Royce, right for you’ which must

surely have been Minchin’s work! Eventually a majority stake in Pritchett & Gold itself was taken by market leader Chloride Ltd. in

1928, largely at Minchin’s instigation. The latter firm had been founded ca 1900 at Clifton Junction in Manchester. Chloride’s famous

“Exide” brand (originating in the U.S. Exide Starter Battery Co.), was also supplied to Rolls-Royce. These batteries were made at its

Clifton Junction works.

(It would be as well to clarify a further so-called Rolls-Royce connec tion to the battery world arising from a Claude Johnson as

managing-director of the D.P. Battery Co. This company had been founded in 1888 at Charlton in London and later moved to Bakewell

in Derbyshire around 1900. It too was absorbed by Chloride ca 1928. The D.P. stood for Dujardin et Planté, the French originators of the

particular battery design. The Johnson in question was not, however, the Claude G. Johnson who was managing-director of Rolls-Royce

but rather W. Claude Johnson, the electrical pioneer.)

The Rolls-Royce connection

In the 1920s Minchin became friendly with Henry Royce and sometimes stayed with him at his house ‘Villa Mimosa’ at Le Canadel

in the south of France when both were wintering there. Minchin also knew William R. Morris of Morris Cars and later arranged to

introduce him to Royce. As Minchin relates, the meeting took place in St. Raphael on 27 th February 1925. Although Minchin rarely, if

ever, used Morris products he did own twenty-three Rolls-Royce cars. These included two early Silver Ghosts - 1911 chassis 1527 fitted

with a 1919 tourer body and owned by Minchin in 1920 only when he was living in central London at 34 Westminster Mansions, S.W.1;

and 1912 chassis 2125 fitted with a ca 1921 tourer body and owned from 1921 when Minchin was living in London N.W.8.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 8

A Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost fabric-bodied tourer, a ca 1920 model. This was not his 86EE car but might be Minchin’s 1912 chassis 2125

if he upgraded the brakes and hubs to post 1919 specification as seen here. He modernised 2125 in ca 1921 with a torpedo body.

Minchin’s 1920 Silver Ghost 86EE

lightweight tourer showing off its extra

petrol supply! He shared with Royce a

preference for short and light bodies.

This chassis was recorded as a Mann

Egerton tourer when new but this body

is very rudimentary and is probably

therefore Minchin’s even lighter


By late 1921 Minchin owned 1920 Silver Ghost 86EE, a lightweight tourer registered R-4873 which was described in The Autocar for

21 January 1922 p.99-100 and 29 December p.1369. Minchin’s attention to detail was evident from the petrol tin storage at the back of

the body and from the records on the battery box lid showing its maintenance. It seems this was a chassis Minchin bought secondhand

and had altered with new springs, probably for a replacement lighter body.

He also owned Bentleys - he was friendly with engineers at Bentley Motors and was soon the owner of a 1924 Bentley 3-litre

chassis 691 James Young allweather (with Beatonson head) shown in The Autocar 15 August 1924 p.280. More Rolls-Royces followed

including a Phantom I in October 1925, short chassis 119MC H. J. Mulliner Weymann saloon; and 20 h.p. cars GRK22 Maddox saloon,

GBM61 Park Ward saloon, and ending with GFN8 H. J. Mulliner Weymann saloon (Autocar 1 March 1929 p.446). In the 1930s the cars

were 1933 20/25 h.p. GBA72 Carlton coupe bought in 1938 and 1935 GYH67 James Young coupe also secondhand; and further Bentleys

followed, 1934 3½-litre B73AE H. J. Mulliner saloon some time after 1936, B76AH saloon de ville bought secondhand, B16DK

bought new with H. J. Mulliner fabric body (Autocar 12 July 1935 p.95), 4¼-litre B30GA on which he fitted the fabric body from

B16DK and, it seems, an unknown 1938 4¼-litre as well.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 9

(Left) Minchin’s 1928 20 h.p. Rolls-Royce GFN8 H. J. Mulliner

saloon. This had many special chassis features as well as a

Kopalapso sunshine roof.

(Below) Minchin’s Aston-Martin registered XT-4102 at

Montelimar, France. This was chassis no.1939, Lionel

Martin’s personal saloon before passing to Miss Pink for

competition work by which time it was fitted with the open

body seen here.

In The Motor for 4 February 1930 Minchin recalled his sixty-one

cars up to that point and many motorcycles. He referred to six Sizaires

and several Metallurgiques. But it seems pointless to list all his cars

because Minchin vouchsafed to us in ‘Under my bonnet’ what his tally

actually was - by 1950 he had had 13 motorcycles (12 Triumphs and one

Vindec) and 154 cars! The one fairly consistent theme in his choices was

lightweight coachwork. He also brought interesting cars to the Derby

factory when he thought they would influence Rolls-Royce designers.

Minchin’s friendship with Royce was maintained by a regular correspondence

from the 1920s. Sir Max Pemberton’s biography of Royce (1934)

contains many letters from the 1924-32 period supplied by Minchin.

We have to be grateful to him for recording many of Royce’s earliest

recollections. Without his interest in the origins of Rolls-Royce much

would have been lost. Minchin himself had built a villa near Cannes in

1929-30, Villa Beau Geste in Avenue Fiesole, and was mainly resident

in France until the 1950s although he also had a London address at 12

Lincoln House in Basil Street, Knightsbridge. The villa in Cannes was

first preceded by a necessary, three-car, motor house! Minchin launched it

with a ‘garage warming’ in the company of many guests, Royce possibly

amongst them. He was then able to motor down from London in his

Citroen to supervise the building of the villa itself.

(Left) The ‘garage

warming’ on the site

of Minchin’s new villa

in Cannes. (Motor 11

Feb. 1930 p.55)

(Below) A photograph taken in January 1931 by Sir Henry

Royce of Minchin’s villa ‘Beau Geste’ at Cannes.

Minchin’s friendship with Royce received a further filip on

17 th August 1931 when he joined Sir John Prestige, also in the

electrical industry, in taking the Science Museum’s 1905 10 h.p.

Rolls-Royce 20162 to West Wittering in Sussex for Sir Henry to

see. A short film of this encounter survives for which we have to

thank Minchin’s friend Ivan Evernden at Rolls-Royce, Crewe,

who had copies made of the fragile original.

(Above) Sir Henry Royce in the Science Museum’s 1905 10 h.p. Rolls-Royce 20162 when it was brought down to his home ‘Elmstead’

at West Wittering on 17 th August 1931 by Sir John Prestige and Neville Minchin seen on the left. Prestige took the photograph.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 10

Minchin also advised Royce on potential mergers for his Royce

Ltd. crane company in Manchester. The business was in decline

and could not match the resources of large makers and electrical

combines such as English Electric. After Royce’s death Rolls-

Royce Ltd. maintained contact with Minchin and he was invited

to give his opinion of the new Phantom III in 1935 when he was

loaned a car for test. On this occasion his judgment was not

altogether favourable! Another interesting connection for Minchin

was his chairmanship of the French Rolls-Royce retailer Franco-

Britannic Automobiles in the late 1930s although by now he was

driving a Voisin as well as a Rolls-Royce.

Minchin the writer

Perhaps the most intriguing result

of the friendship with Royce was Minchin’s

first book, ‘N.7: a novel’, published in 1930

and dedicated to Royce. It was the result

of a wager between the two men, Royce

not believing that Minchin could write a

thriller! He had mentioned to Minchin that

an Edgar Wallace style of thriller would be

difficult to write but Minchin took up the

challenge. The book mirrors the journeys

through central France on Route Nationale

Sept (N.7) taken by Rolls-Royce engineers and drivers when they

brought cars down to Le Canadel for Royce to try. The combination

of high society, the French Riviera,

powerful cars, and a criminal element, also

owes much to the books of Dornford Yates

who was a popular author at this time. Not

long after publication Minchin actually met

Edgar Wallace (1875-1932), also a Rolls-

Royce owner, on the Paris to London train!

Throughout his life he met so many famous

people by chance that this encounter with

Wallace must not have seemed out of the

ordinary to him.

Minchin did not publish again until

1950 when his motoring classic ‘Under

The St. James Hotel near Cape Town ca 1950, a new business for Minchin.

My Bonnet’ appeared. (First published by Foulis it was reprinted

in 1964 by MBC, the Motor-racing Book Club.) It is the nearest

thing to Minchin’s memoirs, arranged around his life with cars.

It was an immediate success and captured for a new generation

both the atmosphere of the golden age of motoring and the outlook

of a gentleman of leisure. Minchin once told the South African

Rolls-Royce enthusiast Bob Johnston that a bit of exaggeration

did no harm in telling a good story and the book certainly shows

it, without compromising too many of the facts and the flavour of

the times. The former editor of Motor Sport magazine, Bill Boddy,

described it as ‘that best of motoring tales’.

Changing times

Minchin returned to England for the duration of the Second

World War and was unfortunate to lose his house in a fire though

saving much of the cont ents. In securing another home in 1945

he met the Hon. Lady Shelley-Rolls (1872-1961) when he rented

a house in central London owned by the Rolls family estate.

She was the sister of the Hon. Charles S. Rolls (1877-1910) and

widow of Sir John Shelley, Bt. As with Royce, Minchin delved

into Rolls’s early years in conversation with his new landlady. In

1946 he returned to live in the south of France where his villa and

contents had been left undamaged by its German occupiers. It was

in this time that he began to reminisce about his motoring life and

was invited to contribute to Motor Sport for its January 1948 issue

about the 149 cars he had owned until then.

Minchin made a trip to South Africa in late 1948, when finding

the south of France increasingly expensive or uncongenial. Here,

on impulse, he bought the small but exclusive St. James Hotel on

Main Road in St. James, an enclave in the False Bay area near Cape

Town. He took over the entire staff and its well-known manager

and caterer in a company called False Bay Hotels. He and Gladys

moved to Cape Town permanently in about 1950.

South Africa was by now more aligned with his political outlook

and moreover his old motoring friend Harry Knox, a nephew of

Lord Lonsdale, also lived there. Another motoring pioneer retired

there was William F. Bradley, French correspondent of The Autocar.

The newly-purchased St. James Hotel, a seaside establishment,

catered for what would have been called a better class of person

as well as accommodating some permanent residents.

On one occasion Minchin proudly recorded five dukes

in residence! The building is now a retirement home

appropriately enough.

Minchin did not of course run the hotel itself. He and

Gladys lived seventy-five miles away in a house called

‘Connemara’ at Montagu. Its charms included a small

thatched chapel. In old age he met many significant

Rolls-Royce enthusiasts, and was especially friendly

with Bob Johnston who now lived in Cape Town and

owned 1921 Silver Ghost 45SG. Minchin had seen the

car at the St. James Hotel during Johnston’s honeymoon.

Johnston was able to assist Minchin a little on his

current book project. This was made even easier when,

in 1961, the Minchins moved into a 1920s mansion at 27

Belvedere Avenue in Oranjezicht

on the slopes of Table Mountain

above Cape Town and close

to the Johnstons. Much of this

next book, ‘The Silver Lady’,

was written by Minchin in the

Edwardian atmosphere of the

Mount Nelson Hotel, appropriate

for someone who had spent a

lifetime at the best European

watering holes.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 11

Neville Minchin with his

African driver and Patrick

Hall, an English visitor

who ran a business in

the Cape, outside the

St. James Hotel. The

cars are Minchin’s 1951

Silver Dawn SFC56 and

Hall’s 1954 Bentley R-

type Continental BC26C

registered V-28 (and

sporting a kneeling

Spirit of Ecstasy Rolls-

Royce mascot). Hall

would have appealed

to Minchin because he

had participated in the

1949 Monte Carlo Rally

with a V-12 Lagonda and

became a prolific Rolls-

Royce owner. The colour

photograph was taken by

Mrs. Elaine Hall in 1956.

The French-style mansion below Table Mountain owned by the

Minchins in the 1950s.

The final years

In his final years Minchin lived in the exclusive San Martini

Gardens apartments in Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town. An

important visi tor here was the late Kenneth Neve, managingdirector

of Turner & Newall in England, who was restoring the

original 1911 London to Edinburgh Silver Ghost chassis 1701.

Minchin confided to Neve that Royce had teased him about the

hero of ‘N.7’ driving a 3-litre Bentley whilst the villain drove a

Silver Ghost! Actually it was a Phantom I, or simply a 40/50 in

Royce’s mind.

Minchin’s last Rolls-Royce car was a 1951 Silver Dawn chassis

SFC56 registered CBR-37 in the Robertson district not far from

Cape Town. In 1955 the car was used for a tour of southern Europe

during which Minchin renewed his acquaintance with Marquis

Don Carlos de Salamanca, the Spanish aristocrat who was the

legendary Rolls-Royce agent in Madrid from 1913 and was still.

Minchin sold this car in the 1960s. In 1961 ‘The Silver Lady’ was

finally published, his last book. It was a semi-fictional account

of the 1912 Rolls-Royce chassis 2208, told by the car itself. It

incorporated all the famous exploits of the early Rolls-Royce cars

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 12

in peace and war. Ironically, this car was first owned by a baronet

who lived at Englefield Green where Minchin had resided with

his family in his early years. The book became a vehicle for many

of Minchin’s motoring exploits, and his many friends also made


Other books were in preparation. The

two works of fiction were ‘Murder in the

Monte Carlo Rally’ which involved Rolls-

Royce cars, and in 1954 ‘The tragic gem’

(translated by a friend into French as ‘Le

talisman tragique’). Try as he might he

could not find a publisher. He then began

work on his ‘memoirs’ entitled ‘Kings,

commoners, and dogs’ (later provisionally

retitled ‘Posh people’ and ready by 1967).

This book recycled many of the stories to

be found in ‘Under my bonnet’ and hardly

justified the term ‘memoirs’ because Minchin did not write about

his personal or business life. In 1972 a book of travel followed,

‘Adventures by road, rail and sea’, again with more of Minchin’s

anecdotes but it too failed to find a publisher. It was his farewell

to a vanished age.

This most ‘clubable’ of men had seen the less frantic times he

loved give way to the jet age and baser manners. There was no

time anymore for the gracious way of life he knew. He died on 17 th

August 1977. His effects were sold by Ashby Galleries in Cape

Town. After his death it was learned that he had paid all the board

and upkeep for his motoring friend Harry Knox whose last years

in Cape Town were marked by straitened circumstances in the

rundown Railway Hotel at Wellington in the Cape. Gladys outlived

Minchin although unable to look after herself in her last years. In

his will Minchin directed that his estate be shared between his old

Cambridge college and Trinity College, Dublin both of which still

benefit. Whilst outwardly snobbish Minchin had a sentimental side

and an easy manner when in the company

of people whose interests he shared.

One of the lasting memorials to Minchin

is his famous collection of bound volumes

of both The Autocar and Flight. How The

Autocar collection was creat ed forms a

colourful chapter in ‘Under my bonnet’.

In due course the collec tion was given to

Rolls-Royce Ltd. at Crewe and many years

later, in the 1970s, they depos ited it with

the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.

The volumes of Flight were given to the

Royal Air Force at Farnborough. Although

Minchin represents a bygone age one is

easily drawn to the obvious delight he

took from his varied experiences and the

famous people he knew. His books will

remain motoring classics. He wished his

epitaph to be Alexander Pope’s line on

Addison ‘Who gained no title, and who

lost no friend’.


My thanks to the late Bob Johnston,

Cape Town, for access to the Minchin

papers (now deposited with the Sir

Henry Royce Memorial Foundation in

England) and for help with details of

Minchin’s life; to Mrs. Elizabeth Spoor in Western Australia for

help with Cape Town connections; to Norman Lindsay, the late

Stewart Thorpe, and the late Bill Snook, in England for help

with battery industry information; to E. John Warburton for The

Neville and Gladys Minchin in their Cape Town mansion.

(Below) When visiting England in 1963 Minchin posed on Stanley

Sears’s newly-restored 1905 Rolls-Royce 30 h.p. 26355. Sears

was a leading figure in the appreciation of old Rolls-Royce and

veteran cars.

Autocar 8 Jan. 1916 p.45-6 on Minchin’s 1906 Darracq Blue

Bird; to Mrs. Elaine Hall for information and photographs; Robin

Barraclough for information about motoring thrillers; and to

Mrs. Mermie Karger in Pennsylvania for getting me hooked on

Minchin’s novel in the first place!

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 13

Holiday Snaps from the Rolls-Royce EnthusiastsClub

Concours and Rally, Rockingham Castle 17 to 19 June 2011

(Left) Our member Dr Greg Beacham demonstrating

3BU186 to Mrs Mermie Karger. This car featured in the

article Jim Sawers wrote for our magazine 10-5.

(Above) An example of a Derby Bentley undergoing

restoration by William Fiennes and Company.

(Below) Examples of what is available through that firm….

(Above) Dedicated to all of us who have despaired at ever finding

anything more appropriate to our cars than a Triumph Herald fuel

gauge at one of our local Swap Meetings.

(Right) One of the four surviving 10 h.p. two-cylinder Rolls-Royces,

chassis 20165; it was delivered to Dr S.J. Gammell, a Scottish doctor,

early in 1907, and donated to the Company in 1920, after 100,000

miles, when he bought a new 40/50 horsepower Rolls-Royce.

(Below) The sort of chassis which Dr Gammell would choose to clothe

in his preferred coachbuilder’s body.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 14

(Left and Above) 1910 Silver Ghost, chassis 1278,

owned by Mr and Mrs A. White. The phaeton body is by

an unknown builder.

(Below) 1907 Manchester built Silver Ghost, chassis

60577, a Maudslay bodied Wagonette. This car belongs

to Mr and Mrs Graham Mead, frequent visitors to N.Z.

(Above Left and Bottom Right) P. & A. Wood’s restoration of a Silver Ghost,

chassis number not known to your photographer.

The other 40/50 h.p. cars available at Castle Rockingham included (Left) the

1925 rolling chassis 42EU available from The Real Car Company for £75,000,

(Middle) one which our National Chairman seems to have claimed, and (Bottom)

another early car, showing a purity of line these two-wheel braked chassis had.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 15

(Above and Left) B40MD, a Mark VI

Bentley Harold Radford Countryman,

one of nine built with this body.

(Right and below) GFT2, a 1931 20/25

Rolls-Royce Barker Sports Saloon,

showing the patent Barker mechanical

headlamp dipping mechanism. (Below

Left) GEN45, a 1929 20 h.p. with

Weymann coachwork by H.J. Mulliner, in the Conservation Class,

having been carefully cared for during its life of 228,000 miles.

(Left and Above) GKM30, a

1928 20 h.p. Rolls-Royce with

coachwork by Binder of Paris, and

showing the original snake-skin

door trim fillets.

(Right) Lt Col Eric Barrass, Founder of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts

Club, was present at the prize-giving.

(Bottom Right) Graham Mead driving his Light 20 h.p. Rolls-Royce.

(Bottom Left) Detail of the impeccably coach-painted 10 h.p. Rolls-

Royce, chassis 20165.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 16

Bentley Eight Litre

by Clare Hay

Number One Press, 2011

265 pages, b/w & colour illustrations,


List Price: £295 (standard), £425


ISBN 13: 978 095358272 3

Order from:

The 8L was Bentley’s attempt to move

away from the sports car market and break into the luxury car

business, competing directly with Rolls-Royce. The car was good,

the business case not.

At its launch in October 1930, the 8L Bentley was Britain’s

largest and most expensive production car. Ten months later the

company folded. These events are not directly related; many of

the factors that caused the insolvency of Bentley Motors were

already in play

There was much gnashing of teeth among people who attempted

to snag Hay’s previous book, Bentley Speed Six, and weren’t able

to—unless they owned that particular model and thus had first dibs

on the book. Only 182 production cars were made, and only 182

copies of the book were printed. If the same parameter had been

applied to this new book, we’d be looking at only 100 copies!

Even though that number was doubled (175 in cloth, 25 in leather;

all hand-bound and individually numbered) there is only a handful

of the cloth edition still available for purchase.

Ever since having suffered egregious copyright infringement

at the hands of an American auto and book enthusiast, Vintage

Bentley specialist Hay has eschewed commercial publishing and

produces books on what is basically a subscription basis in which

books are first of all offered to owners of surviving cars. This, of

course, means that her books are generally sold out before they’re

even printed. If it weren’t for the odd extra or unsubscribed copy,

ordinary mortals would never have a chance to get their hands on

one. Still, this is better than if she hung up her pencil altogether

because these books are supremely important as regards the quality

of the research and the thoroughness of the treatment. In Bentley

circles—without exaggeration—a Hay book is the definitive

settler of arguments! (In a recent court case in the UK the judge

referred to the forensic nature of Hay’s work as “a peculiar form

of mechanical archaeology.”)

There were only one hundred 8L Bentleys. They were and are

important cars. No surprise then that they have been written about

before. Books that cover well-trodden ground can’t very well

distinguish themselves on the basis of finding much to say that is

new. What they can do is weed out inconsistencies in the existing

record, restate matters in a better way, and they can add nuance.

Hay does all of that with customary aplomb.

The Introduction alone should be mandatory reading for owners

of Cricklewood cars (so named after their original place of

manufacture)! There is nothing more detrimental to the integrity

of history than having well-meaning enthusiasts spout off

generally accurate factoids that are lacking vital detail, nuance,

or context. In all of two pages Hay presents here an exemplary

potted history of Bentley Motors prior to their being taken over

by Rolls-Royce in 1931, with particular focus on the spectacular

racing successes, the ruinous cost of racing, and the growing

tensions on the board that resulted in company founder WO

Bentley being removed from his directorship. Short and concise

as this treatment is, the last paragraph manages to draw attention

an often unrecognised wrinkle that will have even old Bentley

hands perk up: the circumstances and impact of the appointment

of former Rolls-Royce man T B Barrington to the position of chief

designer at Bentley. The importance of such minutia to our

understanding of a complex situation cannot be overstated!

A 20-page exposition puts the 8L into the context of its

time and the changing fortunes at Bentley Motors, and surveys the

Book Review

model’s major assemblies and components which are also shown

in splendidly large, detailed close-up photos. Here and throughout

the book, period advertisements, press clippings, and technical

drawings round out the picture. Even an entire sales brochure is

reproduced, full-size and in colour. Before the discussion shifts

to the individual cars, prototype EX2 is covered in detail. With

the exception of WO’s own 8L, this is the only car that is shown

in its current-day restored state. All other photos are period

ones from factory, coachbuilder or private sources, occasionally

supplemented by “newer” (i.e. pre-1970s) photos. Many of them

are new to the record.

Each of the 100 cars is described individually on one to

several pages. For each car are listed engine and gearbox

number, wheelbase, axle ratio, registration number, body style,

coachbuilder, first owner, delivery date, and current status. The

narrative text covers build and ownership history, and the photo

captions are very detailed. While the early history is—mostly—

unambiguous enough, the later history is complicated by such

matters as the legal and practical distinction between “rebuilt” and

“reconstructed” or whether a car today survives as actual rolling

stock or in boxes. The account is as up to date as is possible at a

finite moment in time.

Unlike Hay’s other books, there is minimal prose in this one;

if there were it would show a deep and abiding interest in the

marque. After joining the Bentley Drivers Club as a non-owner—

being all of 13 at the time—Hay bought a 3L project car five years

later and, since writing her first book in 1986—at the ripe old

age of 24—has given much of her life (including cutting short

an engineering apprenticeship at British Aerospace) to exploring

anything and everything about vintage Bentleys. Her 10 books

have added immeasurably to the body of literature; you’ll want,

need them all!

The book is, understandably, mum on this subject but someone,

somewhere, needs to say it: a tip of the hat to the private

individual—and 8L owner—who bankrolled this project, thank


Copyright 2011, Sabu Advani (

To SpeedReaders Team/Reviewers and other interested parties

from Sabu Advani: A completely redesigned website with much

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-the simplest way for you to stay aware of what is posted is to

grab the RSS feed or follow us on Facebook/Twitter

-we can always use more reviewers! (and more readers)

-the long-term health of the project still requires a Big Picture

plan! It is consuming my life and cannot go on that way forever!

-spread the word about SpeedReaders, especially to magazines

and writers; those who frequent the site find it singularly useful.


NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 17

FOR SALE: 1960 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II Chassis SVB331. Good condition, imported new,

always garaged. Present owner for 35 years. Comes with spare new windscreen, full set of tools

(including some special), original handbook and set of workshop manuals. $38,500 o.n.o.

For more details phone Merv Warner (06) 751 2414

FOR SALE: With a garage rationalisation under way, in order to have time to enjoy the remaining machines (XK150S drop-head, the

Mk 6 Standard Steel saloon, have purchased a lovely 20.9 Sunbeam tourer, and there’s a replica 1950s Grand Prix project requiring

time and funds) so more than enough from the following to keep someone busy:

Rolls-Royce 20/25 Chassis GRW51. Complete renovated chassis purchased from Adams and Oliver, London. Running smoothly

and quietly when stored, now engine seized. $19,500

1989 Peugeot 205 CJ cabriolet. NZ new in excellent original condition. $3850

1927/58 Riley/Blatch special. Good 1950’s history and provenance. Riley 9 chassis, BMC mechanicals. HRV status with VCC.

Recent hill climb use. $15,500

1920s Maddox (coach-builders of Huntingdon from 1905) alloy panelled barrel sided tourer body originally on Minerva chassis, but

fits 20/25 Rolls-Royce. $9500

Call for more information. Alan (03) 215 6383. 027 656 4632.


North Wales

Specialists in Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motorcars, 1920 to 1970s.

Around 30 to 40 cars in stock, ranging from restoration projects to


We are always looking to buy similar vehicles, especially pre 1950.

Highly experienced in the Ocean Shipping of these important cars.


Phone: 0044 1248 602649 Please contact Bernie Snalam for further information.


NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 18


creating the perfect impression

The most advanced full colour printing

and digital equipment in the region.

• Logo Design • Business Cards • Letterhead • Brochures

• Calendars • Newsletters • Corporate Reports

• Magazines • Labels • Booklets • Invoice Books

• Special Occasion Stationery • Laminating

• Flyers • Mail Merges • Wire & Plastic Binding

• Desk Pads • Digital Printing • Text Scanning

• Periodicals • Wide Format Posters

and much more . . .

See us for all your printing requirements

76 Wilson Street • PO Box 305 • Wanganui

Ph: 06 345 3145 • Fax: 06 345 3144

email: •


Cnrs Dixon & Harlequin Streets

341 Queen Street, Masterton


Ph 06 370 4614 A/Hrs 0274 752 713 Fax 06 370 8300

Ian Hoggard :06 377 0039, 0800 104 103 , after hours 0274 75 27 13

Trade in and competitive finance available. We also have over 100 more top quality vehicles, from luxury downwards


Bentley Turbo R

Performance & Prestige at a

affordable price


Bentley Azure Convertible,

The best open top motor-

1921 Fiat 510 Torpedo

Sports Tourer


Very Red driveable label with & Very Good

DVD, CD Condition & am/fm etc

Present owner since 1990

Expressions of interest invited


Rolls Royce Corniche


2001 Bentley Arnage

Le Mans

Limited edition model with all the very nice special

features including NZ Sat Navigation


Rolls Royce Silver


Very Tidy Car

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 19

classic car

spare parts

and motoring memorabilia

Simply Classics

Buy and sell classic car spare parts and motoring memorabilia

to other classic car enthusiasts around the world.


and click

spare parts

the essential website for classic car enthusiasts





protection designed by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts

Simply Classics Insurance provides specific protection for the vehicles you are

passionate about plus it includes a complete breakdown support service.

Simply Classics Insurance, in association with Barley Insurances Ltd, have developed

an exclusive policy provided by Prestigio. Prestigio is owned by Star Underwriting

Agencies Ltd, underwritten by Lumley General Insurance who have a S&P Rating of A-

Phone 0800 535 635

click on the Simply Classics Insurance logo for more information.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 20


Rolls Royce & Bentley Specialists

9B Beatrice Tinsley Crescent, Albany, Auckland

phone/fax: 09 414 1971 mob: 021 643 030 a/h: 09 444 3030

We specialise in the maintenance and care of Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars: servicing, repairs, overhauls and full restoration of Rolls-

Royce and Bentley motor vehicles. Our Albany, North Shore workshop is fully equipped to carry out all mechanical, hydraulic, fault finding

and electrical work. Restoration work can be carried out on all exterior and interior surfaces and leather work. Our experienced staff will work

on your vehicle with meticulous care and attention to detail.

New & Secondhand Rolls-Royce and Bentley Parts • Motor Car Sales • Stockists of AutoGlym Car Care Products

Customers & Visitors are always welcome. Friendly Advice Available.





Suppliers of genuine Rolls-Royce BOOKS, MAGAZINES and Bentley AND BROCHURES

PARTS, books, magazines and brochures

Call me any time from 7.00 am to 11.00 pm

Roy Tilley (NZRR&BC Technical Liaison Officer)

204A Waiwhetu Road, Lower Hutt

Phone 04.566.0850 e-mail

Call me any time from 7.00 am to 11.00 pm

Roy Tilley (NZRR&BC Technical Liaison Officer)

204A Waiwhetu Rd, Lower Hutt. Ph 04.566.0850. E-mail

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 21



Factory trained technicians • Right first time guarantee • Loan cars available on booking

All genuine parts with 3 year manufacturers warranty when fitted at Bentley Auckland

New Continental GT - Available now

2012 Bentley Continental GT Coupe, Onyx Black Metallic, with Beluga hide,

Mulliner driving specification, navigation, 21” alloy wheels $ P.O.A.

Bentley Mulsanne

The Mulsanne is one of the world’s most exclusive production vehicles.

It’s level of luxury is unsurpassed thanks to the master craftsman’s attention

to detail. Orders now being accepted for second quarter 2012

Bentley Flying Spur 2009 Dark Sapphire

Portland hide, sunroof, climate air, navigation, reverse camera, wood/leather

steering wheel, FSH. $189,990

Bentley Continental GT Speed 2009

Onyx Black, Beluga hide. Very high specification includes; Naim audio,

reverse camera, active cruise control 7,500 kms. $270,000

2004 Bentley Continental GT Coupe

Moonbeam Silver, Beluga hide, 19” alloy wheels, climate air. $155,000

2010 Bentley Continental GT Supersport

Ice white , Beluga trim, full spec, includes Naim Audio, 20” alloy wheels,

reverse camera. $370,000

1997 Bentley Continental R

Peacock Blue with parchment hide, very rare sought after example,

47,000 kms. A truly handmade vehicle. $89,990

2009 Bentley GTC Speed

Moonbeam Silver, Hotspur Hide, Navigation, Naim Audio, 20” alloy wheels $325,000

BENTLEY AUCKLAND 100 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland.

Ph: 09 360 3200 Fax: (09) 361 6403 Email:

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 22


Authorised Bentley & Rolls-Royce Heritage Dealer



Bruce McIlroy Limited are suppliers of parts for

Rolls-Royce vehicles from 1907 to 2003 and Bentley

vehicles from 1920 to current models. We also supply

reconditioned exchange units for various models.

T t Bruce McIlroy Ltd we

exclusively restore and service

Bentley and Rolls-Royce Motor

Vehicles ranging from 1907 Rolls-

Royce to the present day Bentley’s.

Our workshops are equipped with

the latest technology to carry out

hydraulic, mechanical, electrical

work and panel fabrication on

heritage and modern vehicles. Our

technicians are Crewe factory



At Bruce McIlroy Limited we specialise in catering for

the servicing and repair needs of the Bentley and Rolls-

Royce customer. Our technical area is equipped with

the latest technology and a wealth of experience.


In order to support our unique service we also

manufacture Bentley and Rolls-Royce vintage parts.



Telephone/Fax 03 308 7282, A/H 03 308 7372, Mobile 027 223 1600, e-mail:



Tudor grey with light grey hide

upholstery piped in dark blue, with

dark blue carpets piped in light

grey. Manual transmission. Handbook

and tools. Original condition.


Sherwood green with beige upholstery

and conifer carpets. Burr Elm veneer.

Has been serviced by Bruce McIlroy

Ltd for 10 years. Excellent original



Dark sapphire blue with porpoise

hide upholstery and matching

carpets. Christchurch new vehicle.

Bentley Service history. 46000 kms.

Excellent condition.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 23

Club Calendar

Full details are also contained on our Web Site

2012 National Rally and A.G.M


This year’s National Rally is being organised by the Central Region Committee and will take place at the Raceway Court Motel, Awahuri Road,

Feilding over the Easter weekend.

The main events for the weekend will be as follows:

Friday 6 April

Registration for early birds 4.00pm onwards, followed by meeting and greeting in the bar.

Dinner under own arrangements. If you plan to eat in the Raceway Court restaurant, you will need to let them know.

Saturday 7 April

Registration, Gymkhana, more details later.

Informal dinner after which Richard Hadfield will give us a brief dissertation on his recent travels, including the BDC and RREC rallies in the UK

Sunday 8 April

Annual General Meeting: 10.00 am. Concours preparation and judging. Drive and visits for those not entering the concours. Details later.

Pre-dinner drinks: 6.30 pm.

Dinner 7.30 pm, followed by Concours prize-giving and other awards.

Monday 9 April. Checkout.


Northern Region

Refer to the Club website

Central Region

Sunday 12 February: British Car Day at Trentham Memorial Park, Upper Hutt 10.00am - 2.00pm (Funds to Wellington Free Ambulance).

Sunday 4 March: Open Day at Southward Car Museum 10.00am – 3.00 pm.

Friday 6 to Monday 9 April: National Rally and 2012 Annual General Meeting

Easter Weekend – At Raceway Court Motel in Feilding. Registration Form and Programme enclosed with this issue.

Mark your calendars for a Fun Filled R-R & B Car Weekend in “Friendly Feilding”, fourteen times winner of “New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Town

Award” and the hub of the Manawatu District. (Only20kms N of Palmerston North City)

Closing date for Registration and Receipt of Entries – Monday – 19 th March

Bookings for Hotel: phone & fax (06) 323-7891 – Your hosts - Sharon and Paul- Raceway Court Motel

Saturday 28 April: Flying Display – organised by the Vintage Aviation League – Masterton.

Southern Region

Sunday 25 March Classic Wheels at Greendale: We have been invited to attend this event at Greendale Domain from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a fundraising

event for the school, organised by John Ridgen, with entries $10 a car, and admission $5 a person. John can be contacted on 0272 801 329

or through and needs to know numbers attending as soon as possible. This sounds like an excellent way to

celebrate the Ridgen family’s long association with our club.

Saturday 31 March: Day run to the Vintage Car Club’s Swap Meeting at Winchester

Saturday 5 May: Day run to the Vintage Car Club’s Swap Meeting at Tinwald

Friday 15 to Sunday 17 June: Ohau Lodge Weekend with a day run up to Mt Cook on Saturday 16 June. This is before the skiing season starts,

and just before The Lodge becomes very busy, so we are welcomed as before.

Otago Weekend at a date to be arranged

Friday 16 to Sunday 18 November: Canterbury Anniversary Weekend and our traditional Long Touring Weekend, to a destination not yet


Please note these dates on your calendars. Suggestions for these and additional events are always welcome.

Philip Eilenberg has just imported this Hooper bodied 1929 20 h.p. chassis GEN39, seen with its new 1930 20/25 friends GNS30 (Ed

and Colleen Pollard) and GOS5 (Richard and Lois Green). We look forward to Philip’s forthcoming article about his new acquisition.

NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 24

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