Last month I posted a video clip of a vintage Bentley in very spirited action on the VSCC Welsh Trial – and it caused a lot of comment . Comment that was polarised between “Great to see it being used as intended” and “How can you do this to a fine old car?” It seemed to stir up quite passionate views from either side and was seem by thousands of people within a few days (the closest I have ever got to going viral) Click Here To See On YouTube
A couple of weeks later I posted another video from the Cotswold Trial. Same car, different family member at the wheel and while not quite so lurid, it got tongues wagging again due to the high revs WO Bentley’s masterpeiece was pulling as it neared to top of a tricky section, wheels spinning merrily, passngers bouncing away furiously. Personally I enjoyed every moment of both, as did most of those watching. Click Here To See
Sports cars, of any age, should be used in a sporting manner , surely? Some felt not. The way in which a large vintage car was being thrown up a muddy bank, over bumps and potholes, chiped by stones and scratched by undergrowth was anathema. That several younger enthusiasts (back in the day they would have been referred to as “Undergraduates”…whatever happened to that term?) were in the back seats causing the rear springs to reach their extremes of flex in an attempt to aid grip was enough to produce a ‘fit of the vapours’ (what happened to that expression too?)
However many pointed out that aside from the whole point of having such a car was to enjoy using it as originally intended, it was also a case of anything that broke being fixable anyway. Nothing that was damaged could not be put right. They are machines; they wear, they have componants replaced. That’s life.
Extrapolating this argument it’s also said by many of those involved that putting vintage cars through this process on a regular basis, and there are numerous trials like this each season, has fostered a whole spares-and-repairs industry which is allowing other, non-competeing cars, to remain in working order. If the demand for new Bentley rear springs or Austin 7 front wings was not there, because so few were being consumed by gentle motoring, the companies that could produce them for less than a king’s ransom, would not be there . There would not be a commercially viable customer base.
I do concur that for some the sight of a fine vintage Bentley being given (as Basil Fawlty would say) a “good thrashing” is too much like fixing a Monet on your kitchen wall with drawing pins…
As in all good arguments, there are two sides and most of us, if honest, can see the merits of both. But then unlike a Monet, your vintage Bentley is surely not best enjoyed as a museum exhibit?
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