I was very surprised to read the letter from Mr. T. N. Allen in your January issue complaining of poor Bentley service, which is completely at variance with my own experience.
I have owned a 1955 R-type Bentley for the last seven years. With minor exceptions, all the work on the car has been done by me or at the Rolls-Royce London Service Station in Hythe Road, and I cannot remember a single occasion when work was held up for want of spare parts, including such items as replacement gearbox, radiator core and windscreen, as well as all the minor items such as oil filters, water hoses, washers and ignition spares needing routine replacement. I am shortly having a replacement engine fitted at 160,000 miles and am asked only for sufficient notice for the engine to be sent down from Crewe.
In the spare parts depot I have come to expect across-the-counter supply as a matter of course. Recently, I must confess, the company faltered slightly when they were unable to supply from stock the replacement tyres I wanted, but thanks to your advertisement columns, I got immediate satisfaction from Hampstead Tyres Ltd.
The company go to great lengths to satisfy their customers and the service at Hythe Road is quite exceptional. Since 1963 my bills at Rolls-Royce for service, renovations and spare parts amount to just under £1,400 and I do not grudge a penny of it in terms of value for money. Following publication of your article on the Rolls-Royce School of Instruction in January, 1967, I spent a day there as a pupil. I had individual instruction from a former Hives awardwinner from nine until four and learned for the first time what thorough servicing really implies. All this, with coffee and lunch supplied, just does not cover the cost.
It is true that I am fortunate in living within easy reach of the London Service Station, but owners who have moved as far afield as Scotland are reluctant to forsake Hythe Road and bring their cars down once a year or so for attention. I recall two or three years ago reading a report about an American who brought his Phantom II over from New York for an overhaul because it was cheaper, and I remember the last time my car was in for service the car parked in front of mine was a Silver Cloud which had been shipped over from Spain.
I note that Mr. Allen writes from Derby. (How sad that a complaint about Bentleys should originate from that quarter.) Derby is only 50 miles from Crewe where the Company also have a service station and spare parts depot. If I lived in Derby and experienced the difficulties which Mr. Allen has described I should consider an occasional visit to Crewe well worth the trouble.
Louis A. Ives.