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2 years ago

Issue - Bentley Drivers Club NSW

Issue - Bentley Drivers Club NSW

Graeme Miller protected

Graeme Miller protected the Sedanca for his 20 years of ownership. He had tried to sell it with a caveat that the new owner would not destroy this rare motor car, but no one would be tied down to such a condition and eventually Graeme put the car up for auction without any conditions attached. Now, standing in my carport angrily sawing large chunks out of the rafters, my heart sank. Looking at the large Bentley standing quietly hissing to herself as she industriously peed oil and water onto my driveway, I marvelled at the purity of line and the excellence of form, and was very, very angry. I cut more out of my rafters and looked at the superb wood panelling and originality of the car and its fittings, and my anger and despair deepened. As Nicki and our son Seth exclaimed at the comfortable soft leather seats and spacious passenger compartment, explored the liquor cabinet, the wind up chauffeur’s partition and discovered the fold down occasional seats, my mood blackened still further. It was the realisation that here was something really original, very beautiful and unspoilt, and I could never be the one to destroy it, that left me feeling that smacking myself between the eyes with a large mallet might be a more pleasurable sensation than the responsibility that I’d just saddled myself with. Having bought the car to rebody it, I was having to cope with the realisation that to destroy such an original and beautiful car to create yet another racing green replica was not going to happen in my custody. I had paid a lot of money for a car that actually, was not what I wanted. I phoned Rod Warriner and asked him to release me from our verbal contract, which he graciously accepted. Perhaps he was relieved.Over the next two years, I overcame my dismay as I gradually worked my way through the Bentley’s maladies. There was nothing seriously wrong with the car, but having been used so seldom she was just crying out for attention. I grew to love and enjoy what is a very special and unusual motor car, and never fail to marvel at how much pleasure she gives those who see her. And I have fun with the challenges of driving such a large and ancient vehicle. Now that the old lady has been serviced and fettled we have undertaken many memorable journeys and had wondrous experiences. We’ve had friends visit from overseas and taken them on Bentley rallies and trips to places that few Australians get to visit, let alone visitors from other lands. After our recent tour of England and France, we left the car in the care of Bentley Motors in Crewe, where it is parked in their museum, right alongside the car that they built for HM the Queen. Of the approximately 3,000 WO Bentleys built, less than half survive. Accidents, wear and tear, bombing, scrap metal for the war effort, and 80 years of attrition have taken their toll. Many of the survivors have been rebodied two or even three times.Our car is remarkable in that it still wears its original Olympia Motor show body. Bentley were so pleased to be able to display it that they lent Nicki and I a Continental GT so that we could continue our trip to Scotland in the appropriate manner and style. The new Continental GT next to the Sedanca in front of the Museum There’s a real delight in being able to take our friends with us on our adventures, and to introduce them to the pleasures and vagaries of vintage motoring and to do so in real comfort. Now that I have a tourer as well, I’ve have come to realise that in many ways, the Sedanca offers us much more. And it is so truly different. The quote that sticks in my mind was made in England, when I commented to one of the BDC members that I was amazed at how much attention the Sedanca enjoys, and how much people delight in it. “That’s easily explained” said he “if we all go to the pub for a few ales, it is remarkable how hard members find it is to distinguish which Bentley is their own. They are all clones of each other. Your car is truly unusual and absolutely magnificent.” People really enjoy her stately presence, and we have noticed that we get many invitations to select and august gatherings. We don’t kid ourselves; we know that the invitations are really for the car, not for us……. The Olympia Motor Show 1929 - Syd's car is somewhere in there! Syd Reinhardt 12

The UK & Europe in a 1929 Bentley... By Nicki Reinhardt From the sublime to the ridiculous; the tale of how Syd and I set out to tour the UK and Europe in a 1929 Bentley Sedanca de Ville and finished up in a 2007 Bentley Continental GT. Late in 2006, we encountered an odd retirement phenomenon. Usually, it is the young who get into mischief, slowing down and becoming more considered as they get to be ‘old crumpets, to quote our children. Is this an inevitable phenomenon? Not so much. With some, getting older can cause blood to rush to the head, muddying rational thought. It must have been those totally confused brain synapses that caused us to suddenly find ourselves roaring, and I mean ROARING, off a ferry at the crack of dawn into thick fog. All of our instincts were yelling at us to get onto the OTHER side of the road because there MUST surely, imminently, be some mad French person, driving a ridiculously tiny and probably diesel, ‘Noddy car, bearing down at us on OUR side of the road, gesticulating wildly, mouthing obscenities and honking loudly on their horn. After all, they do drive on the wrong side of the road over there. So there we were being catapulted off the Ferry full tilt onto the Bentley Drivers Club tour of France one sleepy Sunday morning during June this year. We had picked our Sedanca up from Elmdown at Hungerford a few days earlier; Elmdown had done an exceptional job in preparing it for the adventure we had planned. Of course on the way down to Portsmouth to join up with the BDC tour to France we couldnt resist stopping in at Brooklands, where the Bentley legend began. It took a while but detours over, we did finally get down to Portsmouth to join the tour. And what a sight we all were; customs officers and neon-yellow-vested staff of Brittany Ferries in Portsmouth stood rooted to the spot; bemused and amazed. Instead of the normal run of the mill caravans, 4X4s, cars and trucks lining up on the forecourt of the ferry station, out of the balmy night came a raucous blast from the past; 50+ Bentleys of various vintages roaring out of the darkness to be ushered, in an extremely organised fashion, into the bowels of the Ferry Mont St Michel heading for the port of Caen in Normandy, France. Syd and I arrived on the shores of France in a bit of a daze. As exciting as the channel crossing had been, what with it being the start of our adventure with all the excitement of meeting new people, coaxing our old lady onto a ferry in the dead of night, the smell of the WOs and then disembarking the ferry without time to think after only about 3 hours sleep on a moving mattress. Which all contributes to feeling a bit less than sharp. Or maybe thats another ‘old crumpet thing? The disembarking part was every bit as purposeful as the embarkation bit had been; everything to the clock with no time to think, to look at maps, get organized or gather our thoughts; thanks to Brittany Ferries we were suddenly, thoroughly, on tour. It seemed to us that wed hardly lain down to sleep the previous evening when we were woken to strains of what sounded alarmingly like “Le Marsellaise” and had to “leap to”, get to action stations, find our cars and our papers, and light off. With hardly a moment to blink the sleep out of our eyes there we were, driving on the wrong side of the bloody road in an ancient vehicle scrabbling at our tour notes and trying to make sense of road signs in French. Organisers Bryan and Robyn Downes presented us with a folder that was a work of art; Bryan is an accomplished artist and Robin a map-maker of note. The car caused a sensation as it sat parked in front of the Malcolm Campbell Garage even enticing the director of the museum down for a lengthy chat with Syd; he was so enthusiastic that he allowed us to remove the barriers and drive onto the famous embankments. This was a great honour for which we thank him. We also, of course and as you do, stopped in at Goodwood where all was bustling as the Festival of Speed event was being dismantled. Again, the car drew a crowd and we were very fortunate to meet the Public Relations Director, Gary Axon, who organised special access for us to attend the up-coming Goodwood Revival weekend, a long held dream of Syds. Nicki , Syd & Sedanca at the famous Brooklands circuit 13

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