It is often said that we can remember exactly where we were when a momentous historical event took place. In the light of recent events this is something with which we can all identify.
This vintage Bentley has never had a radio fitted, but if it had, the proud new owner, on his maiden journey from Bromley in Kent to his home in Frinton Essex, on Wednesday 6th February 1952 would have heard the voice of BBC radio broadcaster John Snagge announcing the death of King George VI.
Thus, in the face of such a historical and moving event for the nation, is the purchase date of GC 3546 forever remembered by the current owner who, as a boy of 12 years old encountered the sight and sound of his father in a magnificent green Bentley arriving in the driveway of the family home.
He could never have imagined then that this vintage Bentley would play such a part in his life for the next seventy years.
Leaving the Cricklewood works in November of 1930, GC 3546 was fitted with a saloon body by coachbuilders Maythorn of Biggleswade who bodied 26 vintage Bentleys in total. The unfashionable body was removed in 1946 by its second owner in favour of the sporting open coachwork which it carries today, completely unaltered. The numbered components fitted by the Bentley works are the original items
The current custodian was destined to drive Bentleys. His father gave him tuition in an Austin Seven at seven years of age and he graduated to the family 3 Litre Bentley (purchased in 1934) at the age of ten. The tuition, which took place on a disused airfield, involved the seat being pulled right forward, with the starting handle wedged behind it to hold it in place. With his father standing on the running board giving instructions he mastered the art of gear changing and was already an accomplished Bentley driver by the time the 4 ½ Litre arrived.
Having been driving Bentleys from such a young age, our man, by now married to a lady of equal enthusiasm, went on to assemble his own 3 / 4 ½ Litre from parts and also purchased a 3 /4 ½ Litre racer in which he competed with not inconsiderable success for over forty years. Ownership of GC 3546 transferred to him on the death of his father in the late 1980s.
Nicknamed “The chauffeur” many, many years ago by the Bentley Driver’s Club for his ability to drive any vintage Bentley with complete mastery, he has been fortunate to have been entrusted with some of Cricklewood’s finest. Many vintage Bentley owners have received tuition from this master of the marque with one owner recounting his first driving lesson being conducted with his tutor in the passenger seat, depressing the clutch with his right foot and using the hand throttle, whilst the owner changed gear.
It is quite incredible to think that the owner’s relationship with this vintage Bentley began in a time when Winston Churchill was Prime Minister, our longest reigning monarch had not been crowned, sugar was rationed, the word “motorway” was not heard of, TV sets were a rare luxury and a teenager called Elvis Presley was working in a furniture factory.
Today, to be a passenger with this long-term owner is to experience motoring magic. Sitting in the comfortable passenger seat whilst engaged in small talk from the chauffeur there is a sensation that smooth and considerable progress is being achieved. Upon arrival at the destination there is a feeling rather like a conjuring trick has been performed and one is left in the Bentley after the chauffeur has alighted wondering how it was performed.
GC 3546 possesses a mellow charm and exudes the charisma of a vintage Bentley which has had such low ownership and a wonderful history. It has been continuously used and maintained to a high standard by an owner of immense knowledge who has never known life without a vintage Bentley.
With only 4 keepers from new, from such fabulous ownership by somebody born to drive Bentleys and retaining its original matching components we look forward to a new custodian embracing, understanding and enjoying GC 3546 as much as it has been enjoyed for seventy years.
A handsome vintage Bentley with all the right credentials, a great history and very useable. Arrive in this, be it at a rally, tour or family event and everyone will love it