Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club - for Rolls-Royce and Bentley Enthusiasts

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.

If you want to jump to 2. Bentley 3 litre 176DG, click

If you want to jump to 3. Bentley 4 litre B60MR, click b60mr4.jpg (31434 bytes)

 

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 paid 150 - around $400 at the then exchange rate - which included a spare rear axle which he swapped for the noisy one the car had. He returned the car's original axle later. Unfortunately the spare axle had been pushed around a bit, and had lost the drain tubes on the brake back plates - those wishing to mark me down in judging chassis, please note.


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This was the car in 1961 when Nigel took my parents and me on an autumn holiday in North Wales. At this time it had Lucas torpedo side lamps and no centre lamp, and had been fitted with bumpers and Bosch trafficators mounted on the scuttle.
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.



gos8stowe.JPG (37127 bytes)This picture shows the car with a trunk that at some time in its history had been made to fit on the rear of the chassis: some effort was needed to find the right luggage grid with spare wheel carrier later, and a suitable proper trunk. In this form the car won the Douglas Wood trophy (best personal restoration) in 1964.

 

 

In 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 spare).

This is it. Unfortunately, I didn't have this picture until the car had had some further coachwork restoration, but the result was not that far out, as the pictures that follow it show.

 

 

 

The car currently looks like this :-

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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.

 

2. 1935 Bentley 3 litre Park Ward Special Drop-head Coup chassis number B176DG

 

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.

 

 

 

b176dgsh.JPG (30369 bytes)When I bought it, it looked like this.

 

 

 

 

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.



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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.



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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.



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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).



B91JY, Miss Pickles' second car, is shown here when owned by A.C.Rosner. Below it is the same car after Norman Leitman restored it. Note the chrome waistline moulding and the side mounted spare wheel, which distinguishes it from B176DG, but also note that it is now a fixed-head coup. It is now painted dark blue. At least two people have said that the car was converted from a drop-head in the early 1950s, either by Jack Compton or Coachcraft (both may be true, as the former may have commissioned the latter). Although both A.C.Rosner and Norman Leitman have said that the car was always a fixed-head car, because Miss Pickles changed her mind while it was being built: the hood mechanism was still inside its compartment when Clanfield Restorations rebuilt it, and Park Ward records describe it in at least one section as a special drop-head coup. Two pictures showing this car in course of restoration are also included.



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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.

 


J. BARCLAY 18315.JPG (20566 bytes)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).

 


Park Ward did not include the rear wheel spats, but almost everything else is similar, including the faired-in mirror on the off-side front wing. Although the later Park Ward bodies had conventional boot lids, B176DG, like this Mulliner body, was arranged that the whole centre rear hinged down, including the illuminated number-plate housing and the centre section of the bumper. What it meant was that damage to the boot hinge and supports was inevitable if the car was hit from the rear. The nacelle style of mudguards is pretty, but again poorly engineered because the brackets had to be well in-board, allowing the whole assembly to vibrate with road shocks, resulting in early fatigue cracking. The lack of running boards meant that the front of the rear mudguards suffered stone damage, so that most of the surviving cars have had polished alloy stone guards to cover the lower parts of these. Rubber mudflaps were fitted to the rear of the front wings, but were clearly ineffective.

So what of the practice of copying other designs? John Young, ex Park Ward, commented that Charlie Ward, when approached at a Motor Show,  would always quote 200 less to make a similar body to one on the stand of the more expensive coachbuilders like H. J. Mulliner. Many other Rolls-Royce and Bentley bodies of the 1930s by different coachbuilders can only be distinguished easily by subtle differences that were the individual maker's signature. Another future Colin's Corner topic, I guess.

 

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 ones.

 



mulldisp.JPG (47865 bytes)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.

 

 

 

3. Bentley 4 litre H. J. Mulliner sports saloon B60MR

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.

History: Mr Geoffrey (although some other records say it was George) A. Daniell of 53 Pont Street, London SW1, was a long-term owner of R-R motor cars, purchasing his first in 1928, a New Phantom 51AL YX2592 with H. J. Mulliner 4 door saloon body (all his cars except one were Mulliner 4 door saloons) now with a Robinson tourer body illustrated on p.72 top in Lawrence Dalton's "The Derby Phantoms". He followed this in 1929 with a Phantom II, 40XJ UW7934, and another in 1932, 84MS GY7717, now in Germany owned by Hr P. Vandenberg. He then bought a 1935 20/25 hp, GXK20 CLB833, now only a chassis, but then in 1936 bought a 25/30 hp, GTL42 CXU980 onto which he transferred the body of GXK20. Possibly his timing was bad, buying just before a model change, but he did it again later.

He then moved to Bentleys, and bought a 4 litre in mid 1937, B103JY DXM226 with Park Ward standard saloon body C1172, probably now dismantled. This was followed in January 1938 by another, B142LS with H. J. Mulliner four-light "High Vision" saloon body 4572. Following the announcement of the "overdrive" version of the 4 litre, he ordered B60MR, which he received in December 1938, with the body transferred from B142LS (B142LS received another Park Ward standard saloon C1357 off B197LE, which then had a Thrupp & Maberly saloon 6857 design B1276: I am surprised that there was no coachbuilder's called "Burke & Hare").

The car was originally Black with White fine lines and Blue upholstery in Connolly "Vaumol" leather and matching carpets, with a grey headlining.



B99KU.jpg (30291 bytes)The Mulliner records for body 4572 on B142LS state "body to be kept to same length as show saloon 4533". 4533 was a two door 4 light saloon on B99KU, shown on the left, but the detailed treatment of Daniell's car had mudguards more similar to earlier Mulliner style, without the raised outer edge, only having the "trouser crease" at the top of the front mudguards (the picture of B99KU came from Ellman-Brown's "Bentley, The Silent Sports Car"), and no spats.

 


greenpic.jpg (21401 bytes)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.

 


 

B28MR.jpg (26997 bytes)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.


 

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The other style Mulliner introduced for 4 door saloons incorporated the thin framing of the windows on both front and rear doors, with the addition of a rear quarter-light giving a better view out from the rear interior. This is typified by B102MR, here seen at Harewood in 2000.

 

 

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.



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It was sold in 1997 at a Coys auction for 11000, and purchased by Basil Lockwood-Goose from Real Car Co. for 18750 as an MOTd runner in January 1998.


 

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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.

 

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As a retired aircraft engineer who has built two light aircraft during his retirement, and has a workshop full of woodworking equipment, he did major surgery to the body using a number of technical materials not available to 1930s coachbuilders.

During 2000 he then found a very sound 1950 Freestone & Webb two-door saloon Mark VI, B351GT, the Earl's Court show car, which his wife Joan prefers to drive, so decided to sell B60MR on. At this point the R-R.E.C. Mafia started to work, and I was persuaded by Scottish Section Secretary, Peter Kendrick, to run up to Newton Stewart to see it ("run" is not the right term, as I went by rail in the middle of the crisis over broken rails).

Basil had done about 400 miles since he completed the rebuild in September 2000. I did 400 miles bringing it back home in one day, which confirmed the ability to travel without impeding trucks on two-lane dual carriageways. No car is perfect, but sorting out the detail is something I enjoy whether I re-instate the High Vision feature and bring back to original specification the upholstery, only time and my wallet will tell. My first priority is to find the right Bentley "B" leaning back mascot and cap for the car - it has what I think is an "S" type one at the moment. I will trade a single-wing restorable early "B" for it, if needed.

I have been suffering overheating since purchasing the car - I am about to refit the rebuilt radiator, after which I hope all will be well. Note: I have done so, but still have the problem!