On 11 August 1957, eleven people assembled at Paternoster Farm, Yarnton, near Oxford in response to an advertisement placed in The Oxford Mail by Edward Harris. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the formation of a Club for the owners of pre-war Rolls-Royce motor cars. It was unanimously decided that a Club should be formed, and that it should be called the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club.
Little more than a month later, the first Club event was held. Fourteen cars were in attendance.
Over the next three years, the club would hold its first Concours d’Elegance (1958), membership would exceed 100 (1959) and a publication called “The Bulletin” would be introduced for members (1960).
By 1970, club membership reached 1,500 members, of which 307 were overseas and in no less than 37 countries. Eighteen sections were now operating in the UK and Europe, organising various meetings and events for members living in the local area.
In 1976 it was decided that the Club needed a permanent headquarters. A semi-derelict building, The Hunt House, was purchased. After years of careful restoration and development, The Hunt House complex is now the envy of many a car club around the world.
1977 saw the Club pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee. At Her Majesty’s invitation, the Club paraded over 400 pre and post war Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars through the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle.
The 1980s and 1990s
The Archives at The Hunt House became home to over 90,000 Rolls-Royce and Bentley car histories. Over the next two decades the Archives would continue to grow and become home to yet more records including over 15,000 coachwork drawings. These have proved to be invaluable resources for both restorers and researchers alike.
Annual rallies attract well over 1,000 cars each year, and the Club’s technical seminars prove increasingly popular. Subjects covered range from Coachwork and Trim to Derby Bentleys. They also cater for the more modern Silver Spirits and their derivatives.
By the end of the 1990s, the club launched its first ever website and membership reached over 9,000 worldwide.
Into the 21st Century
In 2002, the Club returned to Windsor Castle to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Some 550 cars took part and there is no doubt that Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed the day immensely. Nearly every model and style of coachwork was represented at this prestigious event. The RREC is the only club to have been reviewed twice by a reigning monarch.
The club celebrated its own Golden Jubilee in 2007. A garden party was held at The Hunt House for members who had achieved over 40 years continuous membership, and the Wheels on Road event in August which saw over 1200 Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars take to the road to mark the Jubilee was a resounding success. The pinnacle of this celebratory year was a weekend rally held at Walton Hall, Warwickshire.
Membership figures stay stable despite the economic climate, and both the UK and overseas sections continue to flourish.
In April 2011, the club had the honour of parading over 100 motor cars in front of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle to celebrate his 90 th Birthday. This event, in association with the Rotary Club of Windsor and Eton, raised considerable funds for the Prince Philip Trust Fund.