The late Frank Bel l- A tribute


It was with much sadness that I read Mr. Colin McDonald's letter from San Diego, reporting the passing of Frank Bell.

Both with his service at Rover and followed by a period with Blackburne engines (when the latter had an interest in Turhomeca) I had a close association with Frank in his work. I last heard of him going to De Havilland engines.

Poor Frank suffered much from asthma and some of our technical discussions were delayed due to persistent attacks, during which he was often prostrate.

He was a brilliant young engineer, born in New Zealand and came to Rover's from Rolls-Royce. Nearly all the pioneers of Rover gas turbines have now tragically passed away. Maurice Wilks, Peter Wilks, S. B. Wilks, S. W. Nixon (who supervised the manufacturing side), Newsome the trouble-shooter and Olaf Poppe. They all formed a very formidable team, with only Spencer King surviving and Robinson on the production side.

I surmise that Mr. McDonald's letter was to Noel Penny whom I never met, but believe took over design when Frank left and then departed elsewhere.

As you will readily appreciate they were days of great anticipation. My association with Rover covered the period 1942 to 1967 when I retired but maintained some of the surviving contacts.

Spencer King gave me my first ride in the GT1, and the next time seen was in the Science Museum.

In conclusion, it is pleasing to note that MOTOR SPORT appears to hold as preeminent a position in America for automobile journalism as it does here.

Shepperton V. N. L. BUTLER BEng, TEng (CEI, AMRAES)