I was interested to read the letter from Timothy Houlding concerning his difficulties over licensing his Bentley and I have already spoken to him to pass on the benefits of my experience. I hope you will be able to publish this letter since other people may find my difficulties, and their solutions, of some value.
Like Timothy Houlding I am rebuilding a W.O. Bentley and although I had a chassis number, a registration number and an engine number, I did not have a log book, my vehicle having been broken up in 1954.
My first step was to write to my local taxation office in Birmingham; they replied after about a month referring me to Swansea. I wrote to Swansea who replied by return of post to the effect that my letter had been received and was being given their attention. Three months passed. I then received a letter from Swansea saying that I should “Get in touch with the local taxation office”. I believed that the “the” referred to the office where the vehicle had been originally registered and accordingly asked the AA for the address. I wrote my letter again and did not even receive a reply. ‘Iliree more months passed. I went to our 13irmingham office in person and explained my problem to an elderly gentleman who said that I should write to the London office corresponding to my registration number UW6565, after which he disappeared behind a partition and returned with an official paid -envelope with an address of a taxation office rubber-stamped upon it.
I enclosed my, “now standard”, letter and posted it off. Three months elapsed. I then received a postcard front Birmingham City Police asking me to telephone and speak to a certain Detective Constable. I rang and a charming female answered “Stolen car department”. I explained my problem and arranged for the D.C. to visit my garage and view the assorted wreckage. He came and satisfied himself that I did indeed own the chassis and the engine but was mystified by the lack of bodywork. I explained that the original “Harrison Flexible ‘router” had proved a bit too flexible and that I was replacing it with a Vanden Plas tourer to be painted green.
He went away and in about one month I received an old style log book with all the details correctly recorded for UW6565.
All of this started about two years ago and as can be seen, took about 12 months.
However… it then became necessary to change my log books for the new style registration document.
I have two cars; a 1936 Rolls-Royce 25/30 and the Bentley. I took both books down to the Birmingham office hoping to encounter my elderly gentleman again. No such luck. A frogfaced harridan snatched my precious books and at first refused to give me a receipt. I returned home and waited expectantly. One month passed and I received my two books back from Swansea with cancelled scrawled over them, but no other documents. Another month passed.
I wrote to Swansea, and received the standard card in reply informing me that my case was “being attended to”. About three months later I was delighted to receive two buff envelopes from Swansea. When I opened them my delight turned to dismay since both documents referred to some hypothetical vehicle with the Bentley engine and chassis numbers but the Rolls-Royce body description and colour.
I wrote a long letter of explanation and enclosed photocopies of all my correspondence. Within one week I had received a new document for the Rolls-Royce but nothing for the Bentley. I wrote to Swansea again. About four weeks later I received two buff coloured envelopes again and found that I now had two new registration documents for both cars, mercifully correct. But, I’ve now got two registrations for the Rolls with different numbers! Still, I think I will let it rest there.
Birmingham JOHN HUNT