The Past Lives Again

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At a Bentley Drivers’ Club Film Show held in the British Empire Theatre, Craven Street, London, on February 12th, were shown some of the latest Castrol films, such as the Monaco Grand Prix 1957, and a Dunlop tyre film. Of greater importance to the Bentley members present, however, was a 1,600-ft. composite reel of film taken at some of the classic racer meetings of 1929 and 1930. This silent film depicted such events as the 1929 500-Mile Race at Brooklands, the 24-Hour Race at Le Mans of that year, the Irish Grand Prix at Dublin, the 1930 T.T., and “Britain’s Finest Sports Car—Bentley.” Full-frame titles explained the scenes and the course of events. Many of the great names in the history of the racing Bentleys could be seen in action or at the pits; some of these distinguished personalities were present in the theatre watching their antics of nearly 30 years ago.

The film starts with the 500-Mile Race and shows some of the cars starting from the line at Brooklands. By watching the film carefully it is possible to pick out quite a number of the famous “Bentley Boys.”

The film shows some of the haphazard re-fuelling techniques which, today, would cause the R.A.C. Steward’s hair to stand on end immediately; likewise the dangerous restarting in front of oncoming cars after a spin at Arnage at Le Mans. The comparatively rough surface of Brooklands shows up very well in all the stages of the film, and also the lack of spectators compared with present-day crowds. This is indeed a film which every Bentley enthusiast will want to see; all credit to the B.D.C. for securing such an interesting record.