It's the Rolls-Royce of Bentley websites.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Thomas Crown Affair Copy - a tribute to John Blatchley.

No, not another remake of Norman Jewison's movie in which Steve McQueen plays the leading role:
"Cool and sophisticated, Thomas Crown is quickly established in the plot as a man of discernment: a polo-playing Ferrari owner with his own glider and a taste for hand-made suits and hand-rolled cigars, so what else would he drive on formal occasions but a Rolls-Royce? Thomas Crown's however, was no 'ordinary' Rolls-Royce, but one of the even more exclusive, limited edition, two-door sedans specially built to individual customer order by the company's in-house coachbuilder, H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd. The car used for the movie (CRX2672) , features in a number of key scenes, including the 'money drops' at the film's beginning and ending, and when Thomas Crown drives in the rain accompanied by insurance investigator, Vicki Anderson (Faye Dunaway). "
This car is another 1967 Silver Shadow two door saloon almost identical to the movie car - the interior is not tan.
It was up for sale on Ebay in 2008, but worth looking at again, simply because it's beautiful.
The two door Silver Shadows became the Corniche in late 1971 and the car continued to be built in convertible (or should I say 'Drophead Coupe') form right up until 1995. That was an almost thirty year run for that model, something that never will happen with today's modern car designs.
The Silver Shadow/Corniche is a tribute to the late Rolls-Royce chief styling engineer John Polwhele Blatchley:

"John Blatchley – shaper of the modern Rolls-Royce – was a 12-year-old pupil at boarding school in Chesterfield when rheumatic fever was diagnosed. "The doctors took it terribly seriously; I was more or less a total invalid for three years", he said, "so I missed out on a proper education."

The teenage, bedridden years weren't entirely wasted, though. The sickly boy spent long afternoons sketching and building cardboard models of fantasy car designs. After imploring his father to let him become a real car designer, he had a stint at the Chelsea School of Engineering, followed by a place at the Regent Street Polytechnic, and then a job in 1935 with the leading London coachbuilder Gurney Nutting.

Blatchley's task was to make the initial drawings of customers' bespoke car bodies, later to be translated into reality by Gurney Nutting's craftsmen. He proved so good at it that, within two years, he was design chief. "We rarely made two alike. It was a wonderful learning process. I would make a 1:16 scale drawing and the car would be completed in just six weeks."

But by 1940, Gurney Nutting ceased bodying expensive automobiles and Blatchley – unable to fight in the Second World War because of a lingering heart murmur – was despatched to Rolls-Royce's Nottinghamshire factory, designing metal aero engine cowlings. The work, he recalled, was "intensely boring".

However, a post-war Rolls-Royce car was secretly being planned, the first ever offered complete with a factory-supplied "standard steel" body, which would sideline independent coachbuilders entirely. Blatchley was assigned as Rolls-Royce's first ever stylist.

"They had a prototype but no one there had a clue about body design," he said. "My first job was to put a little finesse into it – it had no elegance at all. I had to make something that would be stamped out by the thousand look like a craftsman-made motor car. I also had to completely design the interior – seats, dashboard, everything."

This became the 1946 Bentley MkVI which, with its near-identical Rolls sister, the Silver Dawn, laid the cornerstone for Rolls-Royce's post-war prosperity. It was another nine years before the first Rolls entirely styled by John Blatchley was unveiled. But only after disapproval from Rolls-Royce's staunchly conservative management.

"I spent years working on one full-size mock-up of 'the new car' only to be told when it was finished to put it on the bonfire," Blatchley remembered. "It was too 'modern'. So I was asked to do a quick sketch of something more traditional, which I did in about 10 minutes. It was taken into a board meeting and they decided to make it!" That's how the 1955 Silver Cloud came by its classic elegance.

Ten years later, the Silver Shadow – Rolls-Royce's biggest selling model ever – came along. With the rapid decline of the chauffeur, it was aimed at a new type of buyer: the owner-driver. "Styling this car was very much an architectural exercise," Blatchley recalled:

The specification demanded it be lower, narrower and shorter, with better visibility and luggage space, and a bigger petrol tank. My biggest challenge was getting all this paraphernalia, plus passengers, into a car that still looked all right.

That he did this is borne out by the Shadow's Peter Pan looks – clean and elegant even now. But times were changing at Rolls:

It was a horrible period and, frankly, with all the new regulations and safety stipulations, the job was getting too difficult for me. Previously, what I said about styling went. Now, everything had to go before endless committees. It was unbearable. So, aged 55 and fortunate enough to have private means to help me along, I took early retirement. They were shocked but I'd made up my mind, and never regretted it.

Blatchley and his wife moved to Hastings in 1970, where he lived quietly and largely forgotten. But rising interest in his work during the 1990s eventually saw belated acclaim for his car-styling genius. When BMW resurrected Rolls-Royce in 2002, it decided to ask Blatchley his opinion on its controversial new Phantom. To the surprise of traditionalists, he approved. "BMW showed me their possible designs; there was literally only one I thought was any good, and it's the one they've built. I think they've done a marvellous job."

John Polwhele Blatchley, car designer: born London 1 July 1913; designer, then chief designer, J. Gurney Nutting Ltd, 1936-40; draughtsman, Rolls-Royce Ltd 1940-43, stylist, car division 1943-55, chief styling engineer 1955-69; married 1939 Willow Sands (two sons); died Hastings, East Sussex 16 February 2008."


Credit to motoring author Giles Chapman for the obituary from the Independent newspaper.
And thanks to Rodd Sala for the pictures.
(posted by David Irvine)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Flying B's and Ladies

Some nice B's & Ladies from the past summer's RROC meet in Toronto.
An S3, a Silver Ghost and a new Phantom Drophead.
(Posted by David Irvine)


My new plate.
(posted by David Irvine)

An Accomplishment

By David Irvine.
I do not run Bentleyspotting. I only have the honour to contribute.
The site is run by someone to whom I shall refer as 'W.O.' (not actually his initials...) - more on him in a moment.
Thirty five years ago, at the age of thirteen I received an 'Autocar' Rolls-Royce poster and the addiction began.
I've always told my friends and family that I would one day own a Rolls-Royce.
Setting a goal is a good thing. Accomplishing it is even better.
As of yesterday I have finally become a Rolls-Royce owner.
I now own a very nice Cardinal Red 1975 Silver Shadow, which I have known and driven a lot over the last few years. 
As James Brown would say "I Feel Good!"
Now back to 'W.O.'
On the top right of this page you can see:

Please do it.
He's built up a great site and he should not have to wait for 35 years like I did.
Oh, and maybe whatever you consider donating, double it, as cars in Australia are twice as much as anywhere else!

Monday, November 15, 2010

RRover 3500

Easter 1978, London.
I spotted this Rover 3500 one evening in central London. I didn't have my camera with me but the man who drove it told me he parks there every day at 9am. So the next day I rushed out and waited all morning with my camera on Bury street, near St.James Square until it finally turned up. He was late that day, and had no clue that I was waiting to see it again.
I wasn't bothered though as I thought it was very cool - my Dad had a Rover too, but nothing like this one...
Nowadays I'd ask "Why do people do such things?"
(posted by David Irvine)

Sunday, November 14, 2010


A Silver Shadow LWB sans engine and a Supermarine Spitfire WW2 fighterplane in the same place near Niagara Falls, Canada.
Is someome messing about with their Rolls-Royce engines? A possible transplant?
(posted by David Irvine)

Silver Mist ?

The word 'Mist' in German means something else...
This Vignale bodied Wraith at the Imperial Palace Auto Collection in Las Vegas has a toilet in it.
I wouldn't want a car that somebody had more than just sat in. (I did say 'Sat')
No wonder why nobody wants to buy it...
(Posted by David Irvine)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Rolls-Royce meet Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia c1957

Take a look at these photos!

Vintage Car. Melbourne, Vic c1957-58

They were thought to be taken at a Rolls-Royce meet.

Vintage Car. Melbourne, Vic c1957-58

The meet happens to be in Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia c1957.

Vintage Car, Melbourne, Vic c1957-58

These cars would not have been that old at this meet.

Rolls Royce  c1957 in Castlemaine

Come to think of it, it would be kind of like taking a 1981 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit to a meet today.

Rolls Royce  in Castlemaine c1957

Or maybe be Silver Shadow for a very early car.

Rolls Royce in Castlemaine c1957

Rolls Royce  c1957 in Castlemaine

Thanks to Flickr user HistoryInPhotos for the uploads.

NH's RR&B Videos

A Vimeo user simply called NH has uploaded a couple of nice detailed videos of a Rolls-Royce and Bentley.

First a Bentley Brooklands from 1994.

Who else noticed it is an ex-Japan Cornes delivered model?

And second a Rolls Royce Silver Spirit II.

Thanks for the videos and keep up the work NH!

The Rolls-Royce Assembly Line

Here is a special video from Carl Pendle. He explains:

"Rolls-Royce very kindly let me do a short time-lapse movie of their assembly line. It is just an amazing site to see these incredible cars come together. And it is not a quick process, as only 15 cars are produced per day of the Phantom and Ghost models at the Goodwood plant. But at about £165,000 for the Ghost and £235,000 for the Phantom what do you expect."

"The time-lapse was shot on the Canon 5D Mark II at various setting depending upon the light in the factory. I mainly used the 24-105mm lens which did an excellent job. I also shot a bit of video of the Spirit of Ecstasy popping out of the car at the beginning and end. The music is Royalty Free.

At about the 1.20 mark you will see the start of a 360 degree panorama that I shot with the GoPro attached to an egg-timer!"

Thanks Carl for the video and explanation. For more information you can get hold of Carl at or

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

KAZ's Cars

KAZ has a couple of nice cars.

Let's take a look at number 7 & 8.

KAZ 8 is a nice black Phantom.

Black Phantom

And KAZ 7 is a very cool matte black Bentley Arnage T.

Matte Bentley

Matte black Bentley boot

The colour does look very impressive.

Matte Bentley

Now both together.

Rolls-Royce and Bentley

Rolls-Royce and Bentley

Nice one KAZ. I wonder if he has any other numbers.

In the James Young Factory

Let's take a look inside the James Young Factory.

Here is a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II LWB.

Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II LWB by James Young

This is a scan of picture taken at James Young in 1961.

It is job number 4113, Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II LWB, #LCB24, to design SCT100.

The completed car was delivered April 1961 to Ralph R. Whitaker.

Ang how about this?

Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II LWB by James Young

It is a Rolls-Royce Phantom V, job number 9024, chassis #5BV1.

It was to the design PV15 and was delivered April 1961 to Mrs. V.P. Oppenheim.

Thanks to Flickr user boybentley for the upload.

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Rolls-Royce Camargue in Victoria

Rolls-Royce Camargue

Here is quite a nice Rolls-Royce Camargue spotted in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

It is chassis #JRH26707.

Want to see another 80 Rolls-Royce Camargue photos?

Check out this slide show.

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Killer B's ?

Bentley is recalling 820 cars worldwide over fears that its famous "Winged B" hood ornament could injure people in an accident because it might not properly retract.  
Bentley Motors' European head office in Berlin said the recall affects 620 cars in the United States and Canada and 200 in Europe who added the raised hood ornament as an option on Arnage, Brooklands and Azure models made between October 2006 and March 2009.              
The company says no injuries have been reported but a Bentley dealer noticed the spring mechanism under the ornament has a tendency to corrode and might not always function properly. The fear is that if the hood ornament does not retract, it could increase the risk of injury to a pedestrian in the event of a crash, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website. "The recall is rather theoretical," said company spokesman Richard Durbin in a telephone interview from Crewe, England. "If it were struck by something, we want it to retract as quickly as possible and in some instances it's not doing it." He added the hood ornament itself is unaffected by corrosion because it is stainless steel.   
Bentley will replace the mechanism free of charge and says the work takes about an hour to complete.   
(posted by David Irvine)                                                           

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