We have received from the Public Affairs Department of RollsRoyce Motor Cars Limited of Crewe a hand-out telling us that another Bentley Continental-R has been sold — to an 82-year-old former racing driver.
The gentleman in question is Col Freddie Bell, who bought his first Bentley when he was 20. It was a 1929 4 1/2-litre, which around 1933 cost him £200. Since then he has owned a number of Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars but had lost contact with his old 4 1/2-litre. However, when he took delivery of the new Continental-R, lack Barclay Ltd arranged for the Colonel to be reunited with it. It is a reflection on the investment value of old motor cars that this 1929 Bentley is now valued at over £200,000 — £31,000 more than the brand-new Bentley Continental! What share deal ever matches such a percentage increase? One item in this R-R hand-out caught my eye — the Colonel is described as “in his younger says a racing driver who recorded a number of successes at the famous Brooklands circuit and once owned Tim Birkin’s 4-litre two-seater”.
I am supposed to know a little about Brooklands’ history, but could not “place” Col Bell. So I rang Sue Langer of Rolls-Royce’s Public Relations Department, only to find that it had invested in an answering machine, which informed me that she was not available at her office. The thought occurs to me that perhaps you do not need much publicity when selling the best car in the world! I then wrote to Sue, requesting a photograph of this vintage and modern Bentley reunion and asking with what Brooklands’ successes I should credit Col Bell. No reply was forthcoming… However, lack Barclay Ltd’s PR girl, Miss Gridley, did much better. She supplied us with a photograph (see left) and told me that although the Colonel was said “to have raced alongside Sir Henry Birkin” she,had no details of his actual successes. With due respect, neither have I. The gentleman did not race in either of the Brooklands’ Bentley-only races, or at the main BARC events; but maybe he was a winner at some of those minor ICC and/or MCC events? W B