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
IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN Richard Hadfield
242 Sunnyside Road, R.D.3 Albany 0793
Phone: 09 448 2248
SECRETARY Geoff Walls
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
MEMBERSHIP REGISTRAR Rob Carthew
85A Wharewaka Road, Taupo
Phone 07 377 4117
TECHNICAL LIAISON OFFICER Post WW2 Roy Tilley
204a Waiwhetu Road, Lower Hutt
Phone 04 566 0850 Fax 04 586 2937 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
TECHNICAL LIAISON OFFICER Pre WW2 Eddie Riddle
1 Wickliffe St, Mosgiel 9024
Phone 03 489 5774 Email email@example.com
MAGAZINE EDITOR Tom King
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
NATIONAL EVENTS CO-ORDINATOR Rob Carthew
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
CHAIRMAN Roy Tilley
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
SECRETARY Tom King
191 Sparks Road, Christchurch 8025
Phone 03 339-8309 or Mobile 0275 880 767
NEW ZEALAND ROLLS-ROYCE & BENTLEY CLUB (INC)
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)
$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: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.nzrrbc.co.nz ,
then APPLICATION FORM
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 www.rroc.org 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
“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 www.rroc.org 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: email@example.com
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
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) http://www.speedwayclub.co.nz/signpetition.php”
Ray and Sandra White
P.O. Box 109177
‘Phones (09) 420 4881 and 0274 886 186
2008 Bentley Continental GT Speed
42 Carlton Road
‘Phones (09) 238 0685 and 0274 511 4341986
1986 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Chassis SCAZS0001FCH13038
Registration 1 ROYCE
In June 2013 the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Enthusiasts’ Club. (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”
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 Enthusiasts’ Club 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 Enthusiasts’ Club 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
• 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
• I can’t emphasize enough, FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS IN THE ARTICLES TO THE LETTER.
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 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
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
• 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
grandson during the
recent engine overhaul
George has undertaken
on GSY12 in preparation
for the Vero Rally at
showing that George’s
car has an additional
Autovac fitted in place
of the S.U. fuel pump
mentioned in Eddie
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
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.
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’.
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
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
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
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
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 Enthusiasts’ Club
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: email@example.com
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
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 (speedreaders.info).
To SpeedReaders Team/Reviewers and other interested parties
from Sabu Advani: A completely redesigned website with much
expanded functionality will go live this week or next. A test is set
up at http://220.127.116.11/~p25lh199/speedreaders
[The new site will of course be put at the same URL as the old;
people will simply wake up one day and see the new site]
There is much more backend custom indexing/excerpting
[mainly for SEO] to do but this will take place after going live.
Anyone who wants to help, let me know.
At this time the thinking is to keep the site gratis to all, i.e. not go
to a fee-based subscription model, and also run only a minimum
of commercial advertising. I have added a DONATE button and
hope that people will do the right thing. The new site has cost
me a staggering amount of money. With that in mind, ponder the
Amazon USA users: If you click through to Amazon from OUR
site [almost every review has a link at the bottom], ANYTHING
at all you buy at Amazon will net a little money for us. If you
have a choice, do it, please -- it’s the only revenue stream we
have other than donations.
Misc: -we reached a high of 54,000 global monthly page views
-on a slow day we have ca. 800 page views
-the vast majority of readers are repeat users
-several dozen high-schoolers are following us (I’m glad they do
but don’t know why!!)
-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. firstname.lastname@example.org
THE REAL CAR COMPANY
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: email@example.com • www.haprint.com
MAJESTIC MOTORS LTD R.M.V.T
www.majesticmotors.co.nz email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Bentley Azure Convertible,
The best open top motor-
1921 Fiat 510 Torpedo
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
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
and motoring memorabilia
Buy and sell classic car spare parts and motoring memorabilia
to other classic car enthusiasts around the world.
the essential website for classic car enthusiasts
INSURANCE FOR YOUR
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.
SHADOW PARTS NZ
SHADOW PARTS NZ
SUPPLIERS OF GENUINE ROLLS-ROYCE AND
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 email@example.com www.royscars.co.nz
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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.royscars.co.nz
NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 21
SERVICE PARTS ACCESSORIES
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.
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: email@example.com www.bentleyauckland.com
NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 22
BRUCE MCILROY LTD
Authorised Bentley & Rolls-Royce Heritage Dealer
EXPERIENCE | KNOWLEDGE | CARE
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.
SERVICING · REPAIRS · RESTORATIONS · PARTS · SALES
CORNER OF RACECOURSE AND ALFORD FOREST ROADS, ASHBURTON 7776, NEW ZEALAND
Telephone/Fax 03 308 7282, A/H 03 308 7372, Mobile 027 223 1600, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
VEHICLES FOR SALE
1953 BENTLEY R TYPE
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.
1994 ROLLS-ROYCE SILVER SPIRIT III
Sherwood green with beige upholstery
and conifer carpets. Burr Elm veneer.
Has been serviced by Bruce McIlroy
Ltd for 10 years. Excellent original
2005 BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT
Dark sapphire blue with porpoise
hide upholstery and matching
carpets. Christchurch new vehicle.
Bentley Service history. 46000 kms.
NZRR&BC Issue 12-1 23
Full details are also contained on our Web Site www.nzrrbc.co.nz
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.
A REGISTRATION FORM IS INCLUDED WITH THIS ISSUE
Refer to the Club website
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.
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 email@example.com 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