Cecil Bendall has died after a very brief illness, ending a full and largely happy life with older motor cars. Very much a Veteran CC man, Cecil began to appear at this club’s events in an Edwardian 12/16 hp Sunbeam. This established his true and very knowledgeable interest in the hobby-aspect of running and competing with such cars, as relaxation from the business in old vehicles and spares he ran from Hertfordshire which brought him into contact with the most unusual makes and models.
I had hoped one day to engage Cecil in conversation about those he remembered, but now it is too late. For many years he was known for his rally appearances with his impressive 40/50 h.p. Rolls-Royce landaulette ‘Stripes’, named after the finish of its lofty coachwork.
But he was also a frequent and enthusiastic trials driver with his 30/98 Vauxhall in VSCC and other events and he was associated with a formidable Prince Henry Austro-Daimler. In 1968 his daughter Pauline took part in her first VCC rally in an Oldsmobile, which she followed with a Hupmobile. Meanwhile, her father, with lohn Mitchell, managed the real and dummy veterans for the film Those Magnificent Men . . . And Benda served the VCC so well, first as its Tyre Secretary — and without suitable tyres where would be older cars be? — afterwards being elected on to the Events Committee and then on to the Executive Committee.
He then become its President from 1977 to 1979. In recent times he continued to serve this august and expanding club well, as its librarian. In so many ways Cecil will be missed. Never flustered, calmly enjoying the events he competed in, knowing so much about so many of the older cars, his experience of them and his length of acquaintance with them bordered on the unique. In their sad loss, we sympathise deeply with Mrs Bendall and her daughter, as will all Cecil’s friends. There is an enormous number of them, many of whom he helped with their cars, along the years.