Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Bentley Boys

We've all walked around sunny fields looking at classic cars lined-up for inspection. Pristine Rileys, exceptional Wolseleys, all done-up in a condition that usually far surpasses the original showroom condition. One of the most elite of motor cars is of course the Bentley. Not the footballer's wife's shopping trolley but the inter-war monsters that blasted the tracks of Brooklands and Le Mans to such a degree that Ettore Bugatti called them something like 'extremely fast lorries'. But you won't find the present-day owners swanning about polishing their radiators on Show Saturdays. No, the unwritten rule of vintage Bentley ownership is that you must be out there driving them. As fast as you can.

I came across these Bentley Boys on one of their outings in the Kent Weald. I had passed five or six pulled up at the side of the road, the car's occupants struggling to put up the canvas and timber roofs against a sudden storm, big rain-coated men looking like they were putting-up unwieldy deckchairs. These particular Bentleys always bring to mind the Independent Artists film The Fast Lady, with Stanley Baxter and James Robertson Justice struggling to control a Red Label against the back projection screen.


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