Cut-and-shuts

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Sir,

I was interested to read your article about the Mk. VI Bentley tourer rebuilt for Major Lambton.

However, I was disappointed to read on further that you are once again being critical of the so-called cut-and-shut Mk. VI Crewe Bentley, naming them “imitation racers”.

As the owner of one of these modified Mk. VI motor cars, I question your necessity to make your not uncommon remarks concerning other people’s cars and what may be the owners’ own handiwork.

Many members of the BDC being aware of the need to conserve the vintage Bentley, yet take part in the club’s competition events, have turned to the Crewe Bentley for their machine, providing a very exciting and practical sports-racer. Whilst I think the Lambton car lovely, one carries the theme further by moving the engine-cum-gearbox unit rearward, radiator repositioned rearward, fits a two-seater body as well as shortening the chassis, the end product is that of a well-balanced, lively sports tourer, or racer, or what have you?

Just for the record one of these “imitation racers” has done the s.s. 1/4-mile in 14.72 sec., the SS kilo in 26.86 sec., lapped Silverstone Club in 1 min. 11.6 sec. and reached 140 m.p.h. at Elvington. What sort of figures should a real racer do, Mr. Boddy?

Motor Sport as a magazine is still popular, I am sure, the colour pages excellent, your adverts must sell a lot of copies, but is your criticism of somebody else’s choice of motor car really necessary?

Alan Padgett.
Pocklington.

[Very difficult to answer, this one! Especially as Mr. Padgett reminds me that I enthused over the late Forrest Lycett’s 8-litre Bentley before the war and this, he says, is a vintage cut-and-shut. I suppose it didn’t look so shut and cut as most Mk. VI Bentley Specials and I suppose when Lycett created his splendid motor car there was less “historic” being bandied about, so destroying original vintage cars didn’t seem to matter—think of all those Chummy Austin 7s we butchered in the cause of mud trials. Today, every “new” Crewe-cut is one standard Bentley fewer—even Major Lambton offends here—and although I agree that Crewe-cuts’ performance figures are real enough, the theme is surely bogus? Would you use a Monza Alfa Romeo as the basis for a dragster or “funny car” and be proud of it, for instance? I suppose if you lengthened Corner’s 35B Bugatti, and put two engines in it, it would go faster? I note Padgett’s Mk. VI out-accelerates Lycett’s 8-litre over a kilo., but it has had 40 years in which to do it.

Well, there it is! A replica is one thing, a hack-about in the interests of going quicker another. Should we enthuse over Crewe-cuts or shouldn’t we? Shall we have a postcard-vote on it? Perhaps I should drive a Crewe-cut to see if I can keep it on the island and whether I become a convert? Who knows!—Ed.]