Colin Hughes' Cars - Something about my (R-R) cars
Apart from being an example
of my vanity, this section shows what sort of data one can obtain about
an old car if you are fortunate. It includes data on B176DG which I
sold in 2000 as well as my current GOS8 and B60MR.
1. 1931 20/25hp Park Ward saloon, chassis number GOS 8
I bought it from my brother Nigel in 1969 in exchange for a 1935 H.J.Mulliner Phantom II chassis 51TA. He had bought the 20/25hp in 1961 from a Mr Farmiloe of Station Garage at Taplow, near Maidenhead. My only memories of the latter are his using an amber cigarette holder, and that most of the stories he related involved someone who "didn't want to know" or a situation of which he also "did not want to know". He tended to acquire those R-Rs that had been rejected by Commander Keller of Paddon Bros as not quite suitable for their stock. Nigel had spent some of his last Hilary Term vacation visiting various dealers in aged R-Rs while also running in my 1927 Austin Twelve that had just been fitted with a rebored block and new pistons.
He overhauled most of the mechanical side, painted the body Jaguar Birch Grey, and had a local trimmer replace the roof leathercloth before the water spoilt the headlining. Note that the trafficators and bumpers had been removed.
the 1970s, when I was doing some research into colour schemes for Park
Ward Bentleys, Peter Wharton of Park Ward passed me a spare copy of
the original coachbuilder's photograph (or at least he said it was a
car currently looks like this :-
The most obvious difference is that the original Ace wheel discs had "boss" type valve doors, while the car has had later discs with valve extensions fitted, probably because the originals lost their valve doors, or rattled. You probably cannot see the join in the roof leather above the rear door, which is absent in the original. This is not because they had bigger cows in 1931, but because the original was leathercloth simulating long-grain coach-hide, which is not now available, while hide still is. Note that the car now has a centre lamp (obtained as a swap for two modern fog lamps with someone at work who had it mounted on a Ford Popular), and the side lamps are also as the original. Park Ward had had retouched out of the picture the chassis stiffening rails and the tool box.
I bought this car in 1972. It looked like this the last time it saw daylight.
I have now sold it unrestored (end May 2001), but felt it worth leaving
the data on the file so that you can see some of the information one
can glean about a pre-WWII car.
It is one of four similar Derby Bentleys made by Park Ward with "Special Drop-head Coup" bodies. Three were made for Miss Florence Pickles: chassis B176DG, 3 litre, body B227; B91JY, 4 litre, body B282; and B174MR, "0verdrive" 4 litre, body B301. One other car was built in the same style: B97GP, 4 litre body B242. See below for comments on the body styling. All Miss Pickles' cars were painted British Racing Green, with green leather upholstery.
More recently, Jack Collins of Castleford, who knew my car when owned by Gideon Shaw, the second owner, has been researching it further. Amazingly he found a picture of Florence Pickles in the car. This hung on a wall in the home of her ex-chauffeur; it was taken at Christmas 1935 at her seaside home in Rhos Negr, Anglesey, and Jack made a copy for me. The picture is now in Jack's possession, as the chauffeur has recently died. He has also photographed her home in Halifax, Rookes Mount (2nd from left), and the family grave with the inscription commemorating her death.
The original coachbuilder's pictures are shown in Michael Ellman-Brown's book "Bentley - The Silent Sports Car" published by Dalton Watson on p. 252. They are incorrectly captioned as B91JY. Next is the "chassis card" relating to the order of the chassis, followed by the Park Ward "Finishing Instructions" giving details of the materials used and fittings ordered. The car is stated here to have been two shades of green, but I also have a letter from Park Ward in 1971 indicating that the car was a single shade of green as built.
Extreme left: when sold second-hand to Gideon Shaw in 1936 by Rippon Bros of Huddersfield, it looked like this, virtually as new. Next is the car with Gideon Shaw's wife at the wheel; he is second from the right. He was a printer, and was chairman of Castleford Rugby League Football Club (the group picture shows the team when it won the Rugby League Challenge Cup in 1935, with Gideon Shaw on the right-hand end of the second row).
Her third car, the "overdrive" 4 litre B174MR (so-called because
the gearbox had third gear as the direct gear and fourth was geared
so that the output rotated at higher than crankshaft speed). This picture
was taken at a VSCC Prescott meeting in 1976, when B.C.Whitaker owned
it. It has been black with the original green upholstery for many years.
It was more recently bought on behalf of Simpsons (DAKS) garment makers,
but resold without the registration number to a Mr Gonzalez in Venezuela.
For completeness, here is the second car Park Ward made in this style, 4 litre B97GP. In 1983, it was owned by Mr R.Hppermanns of Aachen, Germany. The original owner was L.W.Finch of St Anne's on Sea. Originally coloured metallic green, it was black with a blue moulding and red upholstery when I photographed it at Locko Park in 1983 at the 50th anniversary of the Derby Bentley.
I mentioned earlier that I would comment on the body styling. The cars are in fact copies of the H.J.Mulliner 1934 London Motor Show car, shown here (left from Michael Ellman-Brown's book, right is the Mulliner drawing from Chas. K. Bowers' files).
Whatever was the case, it confused authors: this is how Johnnie Green
captioned B97GP, possibly because the photograph had a similar background
to others that were Vanden Plas. I think that they were the railings
of the Outer Circle at Regent's Park, London, and these appear in many
car photographs, as it was close to a major area of second-hand car
dealers in Great Portland Street.
Here is B176DG (same picture as earlier) as it appeared in the R-R.O.C. magazine "Flying Lady". They included this among pictures of bodies
by Rippon Bros. of Huddersfield received on loan, without realising
that second-hand cars were also photographed. In my experience, if it
had been a Rippon car it would have had solid plank running-boards even
at this late a date. The caption said "It looks like a Mulliner,
but is actually Rippon" but I do not think they ever made a car
in this style: heavy running-boards were a Rippon signature, not absent
This is the real H. J. Mulliner version for comparison on 4 litre B121GP,
a body transferred from the owner, Woolf Barnato's, earlier 3 litre
car B2GP. Later versions had a slight raised step at the back of the
hood cover, possibly to give more space in the luggage boot. This car
was under restoration at Fiennes' in 2002.
My most recent purchase (20th February 2001) is because a)
I have been looking for a car to do longer trips to rallies without
the problems of being slower than most trucks on the run to Derby
for the 70th anniversary of the PII & 20-25, the only
thing I overtook in my 20/25 was the steam locomotive "Flying Scotsman"
which was on a low-loader b) I concluded that I cannot afford to employ
someone to rebuild B176DG and my standards are higher than I can achieve
myself, so I looked for a car someone else has spent the time on.
This is the nearest contemporary picture I have found to the body on B60MR,
illustrated in Johnnie Green's "Bentley, 50 Years of the Marque",
but without a chassis number reference. It has the same mudguard design
as mine, and the side-mounted spare wheels.
As a digression, the 1938 show car was B28MR, here as illustrated in Ellman-Brown, probably taken just before the show opened. This had a larger "High Vision" area in the roof. It has a more "knife-edge" treatment of the whole body, but again a feature of several of Mulliner's bodies of this period: the front door window was framed in channelling (chromed only on the quarter-light), while the rear window surround was an extension of the door frame. This was almost a throw-back to sedanca de ville styling, emphasised by the swage line running down the front of the rear mudguards and carried forward above the running boards.
When Mr Daniell died, the car passed to his widow, who in 1947 purchased a Bentley Mark VI B6CF. B60MR was sold in 1955 to a Capt C. English of Park West, Marble Arch W2 (a large apartment block on the Edgware Road), but he sold it in 1959 (advertised at 900). Some time in the 1960s it was taken to Nassau in the Bahamas by a judge (possibly Mr M. J. O. May, who is recorded as owner by R-R in 1964 at a Birmingham address, but the book on overdrive cars refers to it being sold in 1991 by the widow of a Mr T. W. Nisbet). At some time during its time in Nassau, it had some restoration done in Miami, Florida, in the course of which the High Vision feature was removed, and the interior re-upholstered in Grey. It was bought by Mr John Paton, also in Nassau, possibly in the late 1970s, returned to England in 1981/2 to his home in Sussex, and in 1991 it moved to Carlisle, where it was fitted with a new cylinder head, having been frosted while in Sussex.
He rebuilt the car over the next 2 years. Here are some before, during
and after pictures from his album showing the progress of the restoration.