Friday 9 March 2018

Bentley drivers wanted.

My blog today is a tale of woe concerning the Bentley Drivers Club and the lack of younger fellows in our membership, which I think may be a common tale within classic car clubs. Whilst we have a fairly healthy membership, both from the medical and numbers point of view, one could always do with a few more and without putting too fine a point on it, eventually all the old members will have died, so replacements are always needed.

Should any of you younger chaps and by that I mean chaps and chapettes wish to step up to the plate and join the club, I can assure you that you will be most welcome. It is not even necessary to own a Bentley as was explained at our meeting last night by a friend of mine who had been coming to the club for the last twenty two years, originally in the Transit van he used for work. Obviously he must have put the Transit van to good use as he now comes to the club in either his 1992 Bentley Continental or his 1999 Bentley Continental T, both splendid motor cars.

Bentley history goes all the way back to 1919 when Bentley Motors Limited was formed by W,O,Bentley in Cricklewood, North London and is famous for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1924,1927,1928,1929,1930 and 2003, some achievement I think you will agree.

The following is a history of the Bentley Drivers Club taken from their website which tells the story of it's formation.

About The Club.

Keston Pelmore, whose initiative launched the Club, was an enthusiastic young owner of Vintage Bentleys, commencing with a rather tired 3 litre he purchased in 1933. Captivated by the experience of "REAL motoring such as I had never experienced before", Pelmore, embodying the all-consuming enthusiasm and exhilaration that Bentley motoring has engendered for more than 80 years, wanted to share this experience with likeminded fortunate individuals.
Having decided on his course of action, Pelmore had printed up a number of cards, headed 'Bentley Drivers Club', which he affixed to the windscreen of every Vintage Bentley he could find in the various car parks at Brooklands during the first meeting of the season in March 1936. The invitation was to the owner to contact the above if he was interested in the formation of such a Club, and was then invited to attend an inaugural meeting at his small bachelor flat in Sloane Avenue, London SW3.
So good was the response - 26 people turned up - it became necessary for a phone call to be made to the nearby Boltons Hotel in Earls Court Road, who agreed to provide a suitable private room in which the meeting could re-convene. A Committee was elected, and within a month, a run was organised to the Old Bell at Hurley in Berkshire which attracted no less than 31 Bentleys. Later that year, a 2 lap race on the Outer Circuit took place at Brooklands which attracted 14 entrants. Clearly, Keston Pelmore had successfully identified the need for a Club specifically for these iconic and inspirational motor cars.
The Club ended 1936 with 54 Members, which rose steadily to 110 by the outbreak of war in 1939. During that time, Woolf Barnato agreed to become President, and other notable Members included Dr JD Benjafield, Bertie Kensington-Moir, Frank Clement and WO Bentley himself, who always expressed surprise, but pleasure that the cars that he had created should continue to exercise such a hold over their owners. Sadly, the conflict brought Bentley activity to a complete halt, and the conflict took the lives of some of those pre-war pioneers, including Keston Pelmore.
The Bentley Drivers Club is a world wide organisation and I am in the Eastern Region of the UK which covers, Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire and London, North of the Thames.
Personally I go to the meeting at the King's Oak Hotel, Paul's Nursury Road, Waltham Abbey, Loughton, Esssex, IG10 4AE on the first wednesday of the month, 7.00pm for a 7.30pm sit down.
Now, the more canny of my readers may have noticed from the last sentence that I am endeavouring to steer any likely members to a specific location and I have to admit you would be right.  Those of us who meet at the King's Head would be only too happy to welcome new members should you wish to arrive in your vintage Bentley, your brand new Bentley or even your Transit van, an enthusiasm for the cars is more than enough.

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