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Bentley celebrates 70th anniversary of Design in Crewe

Bentley celebrates 70th anniversary of Design in Crewe

  • 70 years since Bentley established own design department in Crewe
  • The first Bentley designed in Crewe was the R-Type Continental in 1951
  • Design process has matured from wax carving and watercolours into virtual reality, using latest cutting-edge techniques
  • Design methods flourish despite global pandemic through diversity
  • Design department grows 10 times larger over the last 20 years to meet demand and continually evolve Bentley design DNA
  • Location for new Design Studio being drafted as one of the next Crewe Campus developments

Bentley Motors is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of its own Design department at Crewe.

The first Crewe-designed Bentley was the R-Type Continental in 1951, and was the responsibility of John Blatchley, the Head of Styling. John’s previous experience as chief designer from Gurney-Nutting, the coachbuilders responsible for the iconic ‘Blue Train’ Bentley, meant he had a honed sense of proportion and form.

Andreas Mindt, Bentley’s Director of Design, comments:

“Leading the next evolution of Bentley’s design DNA is a true honour, especially after so many decades of exquisite design in our studio in Crewe. There are iconic Bentleys that were created here – beautiful cars that have stood the test of time, and which inspire our styling cues to this day.

“Our team of designers is now engaged with their next opportunity – creating Bentley’s first BEV, which must translate and reshape those classic forms and details to a truly future-facing design. Not only that, the car must be sustainable in more ways than just being electric – so we are exploring sustainable materials, recyclability and new ways of working to ensure the car has a low carbon footprint throughout its lifecycle. Getting this design absolutely perfect will help guarantee the next chapter in this astonishing history of Bentley Design.”

When it was founded in 1951, the design department’s key responsibility was to communicate ideas and design proposals and share their vision with other areas of the business. This was achieved by capturing design sketches as watercolour artworks, painted by hand – beautifully crafted yet with no opportunity to click an ‘undo’ button if a mistake was made.

The watercolour renders were then reproduced in scale or full size technical drawings depicting side, front, rear, plan elevations and sectional views along the body to describe to the model makers the form of the new car.

Model makers of recent times follow the same processes as they did in the 1950’s. To visualise the drawings in three dimensions, a metal framework is covered with a malleable material (historically wax, and more recently clay) then accurately shaped to describe the form of the new vehicle. Measurements could then be taken from the model and cross–referenced back to ensure the drawings were representative.

Nowadays measuring arms and scanning equipment enable quicker assessment of three dimensional models, with accuracy down to hundredths of a millimetre, and provide data as either numeric print outs or cloud data uploaded directly within the design studio for instant virtual reference.

Virtual Reality and Global Pandemics
The latest era of design is now highly computer dependant and can be represented in virtual reality. Designers can now sketch in a virtual world that can be experienced regardless of geographical location on screens or through headsets and augmented reality. Even with new tools and techniques, once the design has reached full maturity a full size model will still be made, ensuring all of the fine details are perfect before release for production.

Darren Day, Head of Interior Design – and the longest serving member of the Bentley design team, comments:            

‘Despite the global pandemic we have had to learn to adapt and use the tools around us to continue evolving how we design. I had at least two of my design colleagues working in different locations around the world due to the pandemic travel restrictions preventing their return to Crewe. Using virtual reality we could hold design reviews, assess details, alternate texture, choose colour, swap materials and yet still make progress and achieve our deadlines.’

Darren joined Bentley’s design team 27 years ago and was one of five. Today the design team has grown significantly and is now more than 50 individuals covering design aspects for the interior, exterior, user experience, colour and materials, bespoke requests, and collaborations.

Looking to the future of Battery Electrical Vehicles, design is anticipated to play a key aspect for customers more than ever before, due to similarities offered from electric motors and other similar components. Design will not just play a part in customers vehicles but with enhanced technology they will be intertwined with their lifestyle too.   

The design team has already collaborated with other luxury manufacturers sharing knowledge and techniques to bring Bentley’s design language to other areas beyond luxury vehicles.

Beyond Luxury Vehicles
Crafted with passion and finished with love, design from Bentley now stretches beyond luxury vehicles and provides lifestyle options too. Bentley Home furniture can be tailored to meet the customer’s personal tastes, and to fit any elegant home. Sporting a passion for individuality, furniture can be customised in the finishes that have made the British brand unique, from the most exquisite leathers and wood veneers.

Each piece is individually finished by hand and fuses traditional craftsmanship with new technology, embodying the techniques and principles of modern luxury integral to Bentley Motors.

Chris Cooke, Lead Designer, comments:

“We work very closely with our colleagues at Bentley Home to ensure the furniture we create embodies the exacting standard in design and manufacture we have in our cars.

“From the language and flow of the surfaces to the detailed execution of the veneering process, the Bentley Home range is a great example of what we do best, create luxury products for discerning customers.”

The striking furniture pieces draw inspiration from both long-established and modernist design, and interpret the personality and discerning aesthetic of Bentley Motors. The silhouettes and iconic shapes of Bentley models new and old, alongside the precious materials that characterise car interiors, can be seen in the design language of Bentley Home’s beautiful home pieces.

If bespoke furniture is not enough, the world’s first Bentley-branded residences will be in Sunny Isles Beach, Miami. Built to suit luxury car owners, each residence will include an in-unit multi-car garage and a patented car elevator alongside all the most desirable luxury amenities.

The tower will feature uninterrupted views of the ocean and the waterways, bringing the beauty of the outdoors into each new home. Sustainable materials are featured throughout, and with a focus on wellness, the residences are created to appeal to the most discerning customers.

The Future of Design
Pyms Lane has remained the focal point for Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe since the factory was built in 1938.  This focus will only increase with Bentley’s plans to develop further areas of the site to support Bentley’s journey towards electrification. After 70 years of design, it would only be appropriate that one of the most inspirational areas of the business is set to relocate to one of the most iconic buildings on the campus for the next era, with the build of a new Design Studio in the months to come.

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost re-enacts triumphant London-Edinburgh run 110 years on

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost re-enacts triumphant London-Edinburgh run 110 years on

  • 20-Ghost Club re-enacts historic London-Edinburgh Trial of 1911 with the winning Silver Ghost, chassis number 1701
  • Starting from the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, the two-day run replicated as much of the original route along the Great North Road as possible
  • Trip ends with a celebration at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Edinburgh
  • Gearbox locked in top gear for the entire journey to Edinburgh, as required in the original event

“The Silver Ghost is arguably the most famous Rolls-Royce model of all time. It was through its success in the early trials of speed, reliability and endurance that it earned Rolls-Royce its reputation as ‘the best car in the world’. Winning the 1911 London-Edinburgh Trial was a landmark moment for Silver Ghost 1701: that the same car, now a priceless collector’s item, can repeat the endeavour 110 years later is testament to its remarkable engineering, materials and build quality. Our sincere congratulations to our friends at the 20‑Ghost Club on this fantastic achievement.”

Andrew Ball, Head of Corporate Relations, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

History literally repeated itself recently, as Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 1701 re-enacted its astonishing run in the 1911 London-Edinburgh Trial.

The car, designed as an ‘Experimental Speed Car’, won the original event locked in top gear for the entire 799-mile return trip between the two capitals. Given the primitive state of Britain’s Edwardian roads, its average speed of 19.59 mph was highly impressive – and its then unheard‑of fuel efficiency of over 24 mpg even more so. To prove that the car had not been modified in any way, it achieved 78.2 mph on a half-mile speed test conducted immediately after the Trial; it also became the first Rolls-Royce to exceed 100 mph in a later test at the fabled Brooklands circuit in Surrey.

The re-enactment was as faithful to the 1911 event as possible. The car, now a priceless collector’s item and wearing registration R-1075, departed from the Pall Mall headquarters of the Royal Automobile Club (which oversaw the original Trial) at 06.00 on Sunday 5 September 2021, then travelled to Edinburgh on a route that followed the old Great North Road as closely as practicable – locked in top gear just as it was 110 years before.

To add to the spectacle and sense of occasion, 1701 was accompanied by a further nine Rolls‑Royce Silver Ghosts, all of a similar age and in equally magnificent condition, from the 20-Ghost Club. And to complete the pageant, the cavalcade was escorted all the way to Edinburgh by a brand-new Ghost, handbuilt at the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood and finished in Tempest Grey.

The run concluded with a grand reception at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Edinburgh on Monday 6 September 2021.

Andrew Ball said, “Silver Ghost 1701 has a unique and special place in the marque’s history and affections. It’s difficult to think of many machines that can still perform exactly as they did 110 years ago; this extraordinary car is a remarkable tribute to our predecessors who designed, engineered and built it. We’re proud to continue their work and uphold their values in today’s Rolls-Royce motor cars – which are still the best in the world.”

Last chance to have your say – Final call for nominations for the 2021 Royal Automobile Club Historic Awards

Last chance to have your say – Final call for nominations for the 2021 Royal Automobile Club Historic Awards

With nominations closing at 5pm on 1 October, there is just over a week left to have your say in the Royal Automobile Club’s annual celebration of the UK’s historic motoring and motorsport scene.

Eight categories reflect the breadth and diversity this industry encompasses, from museums and events to restorations, journalism and individuals, and the Club is inviting nominations both from those working in the industry and historic motoring enthusiasts. 

Nominations should be made through the Awards’ website Candidates can nominate themselves or be nominated by a third party. The eight categories are: 

  • Collection – for British-based collections or museums which have made a significant contribution to the historic motoring movement during the Awards’ eligibility period 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021
  • Competitive Event – including motor racing meetings, race series and individual races, hill climbs, navigation and stage rallies and regularity trials.
  • Innovation – for new products, services, facilities or other innovations which turn great ideas into solutions.
  • Motoring Spectacle – including concours d’elegance, non-competitive tours, classic vehicle shows, club gatherings and virtual events.
  • Outstanding Journalism – for written or broadcast features in a British publication, broadcast media or digital platform.
  • Personality – for an individual’s outstanding contribution to the UK classic motoring/motorsport world during the eligibility period.
  • Restoration – for restorations by UK-based companies which demonstrate both impressive technical expertise and a significant amount of research and sensitivity to the vehicle and its history.
  • Young Achiever – for rising stars aged between 18 and 30 who are building their future in the industry. 

Each category is judged by its own handpicked, independent panel of judges with great expertise in their particular category, with each panel headed by a Lead Judge who has tremendous expertise in the relevant subject. 

At the Awards’ evening on Thursday, 25 November, the Club will also present the Royal Automobile Club Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of an individual who has made a remarkable contribution to British motoring and/or motorsport heritage over many decades.

The Awards are supported by renowned German luxury timepiece maker A. Lange & Söhne, centre of excellence for historic motoring Bicester Heritage, wealth managers 1762 from Brewin Dolphin, specialist insurers Footman James, classic motoring event organiser HERO-ERA and StarterMotor, the charity which encourages young people to take up careers in the historic vehicle industry and to enjoy historic cars. 

The Awards are a continuation of the Club’s more than 120-year pedigree in recognising motoring accomplishments. Today, the Club presents a series of internationally-recognised accolades, including the Segrave Trophy, the Torrens Trophy, the Simms Medal, the Dewar Trophy and the oldest trophy in motorsport still being competed for today – the Tourist Trophy. 

The 2018 Dowsetts Comet by Ant Anstead – a one-off design to be offered at the NEC Classic Motor Show Sale

The 2018 Dowsetts Comet by Ant Anstead – a one-off design to be offered at the NEC Classic Motor Show Sale

  • 2018 Dowsetts Comet in Porsche Crayon Grey
  • Remarkable one-off designed by Ant Anstead and his team at Dowsetts Classic Cars
  • Offered at The NEC Classic Motor Show Saturday 13th – Sunday 14th November 2021

Silverstone Auctions return to The NEC Classic Motor Show for the 10th year as the official auction partner for this iconic classic car show event.

This long-standing partnership has seen the auction house achieve outstanding results year after year.

The catalogue for Silverstone Auctions final sale of 2021 at the NEC is now open for early entries and they already have a number of exceptional classic cars confirmed including this 2018 Dowsetts Comet.

Having covered only 2,500 miles, the Comet is built around a steel spaceframe chassis which is clothed in GRP reinforced with Kevlar to create a shell that is strong yet light and is looking unique with classic lines of sports racers from the fifties and early sixties without becoming a pastiche of any one model.

Finished in Porsche Crayon Grey, the red quilted leather interior of this car reflects how thought about and special the car truly is. Full harnesses, white-faced dials, a Moto-Lita wheel, turned aluminium short-throw gear lever, satin-finished stainless details, and embossed leather – truly impressive.

This is a special opportunity to acquire a remarkable one-off designed car by Ant Anstead and his team at Dowsetts Classic Car Company. This is the new trading name of the company formerly known as Evanta; whose superbly built creations Silverstone Auctions have been privileged to sell in the past.

Gary Dunne Sales Controller for Silverstone Auctions added “We are delighted to be back as the official auction partner for this event and what a truly delightful and special example to be offered. We are now encouraging early entries, so don’t miss your chance to submit your car next to this remarkable Comet.”

The UK market leader classic car auction house are now inviting exceptional and quality consignments with a number of cars, motorcycles and automobilia already confirmed for the sale. You can view their rapidly growing lot lists on their website.

If you are interested in submitting your best of breed car, motorcycle or piece of automobilia, their team of experts can be contacted on 01926 691141or by email

The NEC Classic Motor Show Sale: 12th – 14th November

Formed in 2011, Silverstone Auctions is a world-class, specialist auction house for the sale of classic cars, modern supercars, all types of competition cars, modern and historic motorcycles as well as automotive memorabilia.

We hold the exclusive automotive auction rights for Silverstone circuit and host sales as stand-alone events as well as an integrated element of some of Europe’s biggest motorsport events such as the Silverstone Classic Festival.

In addition to our sales at the circuit, we also host a number of auctions each year at other major classic car events including the NEC Classic Motor Show and Race Retro.

At Silverstone Auctions we take pride in selecting the very best of breed vehicles for our sales which not only attracts buyers from around the world, but has already helped us achieve a number of record-breaking auction prices on behalf of our vendors.

We are committed to providing the best possible service for both buyers and vendors alike, so if you’d like to know more about buying or selling a classic vehicle with Silverstone Auctions, call us today on +44(0)1926 691141.

Embrace environmental challenge so classic vehicles aren’t forgotten, urges new HCVA chief

Embrace environmental challenge so classic vehicles aren’t forgotten, urges new HCVA chief

The newly appointed leader of the Historic and Classic Vehicles Alliance today (21/9/21) urges the industry and enthusiasts to embrace the challenge of the green agenda.

Garry Wilson, who becomes the HCVA’s first CEO says: “A big part of the job will be making sure the sector has a share of the voice as part of the UK automotive industry and heritage sector”.

“I think we need to embrace the environmental challenge and work with legislators to identify solutions – while at the same time demonstrating very clearly the environmental credentials of the classic movement”.

“How can we help the sector become environmentally cleaner, whilst highlighting how it is ALREADY environmentally friendly?”

Garry, 58, is determined the campaigning group, which launched just four months ago, will collaborate with other classic and historic organisations and across the automotive world to ensure policy makers and regulators understand the sector’s priorities and concerns.

He says: “We have to work in partnership with the mainstream motor industry and motorsport to achieve sustainable results. We have to get our voice out there so that our £18.3billion industry is on people’s minds.”

A perfect fit for the HCVA leadership role, Garry is looking forward to meeting members and hearing their views. He began his motor industry journey as a Rover Group graduate trainee in the mid-1980s working his way through various engineering and managerial jobs over 13 years. His post Rover career has included an impressive range of senior roles in automotive sector engineering, innovation, manufacturing and supply businesses.

Recently he’s played a key part in managing the transformation the sector is undergoing helping to establish the Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centre and the Advanced Propulsion Centre which facilitates funding to UK-based projects developing low-carbon emission technologies.

The automotive industry has been my life for more than 35 years. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to deliver positive impact – not short term, but genuinely sustainable impact – for a sector I am passionate about,” says the Herefordshire based father of two. “Classics, historics and motorsport – are my passion, but I’m no dyed in the wool petrolhead. On electrification I appreciate both sides of the argument and absolutely believe there should be room for both electric and ICE vehicles now and into the future. I want to work with others to ensure a future that allows both to thriveFor the past seven years I’ve been working in industry helping to establish the Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centre and the Advanced Propulsion Centre. What I hope to do now is bring the same thinking, the same energy and commitment to the classic sector.”

Current daily driver is a BMW 5 series, Garry owns or has owned an impressive selection of classics. He describes himself as a ‘neo-Classic guy’. Pride and joy is a 1969 Rover P5B coupe. The new CEO also speaks fondly of a 20 year old BMW Z3 2.8, a 25 year old Land Rover Defender and identifies rallying in a 1980s MG Metro 6R4 as ‘my big passion’. He is a qualified off-road driving instructor, an advanced motorcyclist and holds a motorsport competition licence.

On the task ahead he says: “The big challenges are the immediacy of E10, classics registration, the general movement away from fossil fuels and the development of synthetic fuels. And, of course the skills challenge is a huge issue in the UK at the moment, particularly from the perspective of the age demographics. I’m a big admirer of the Heritage Skills Academy and I want to work with them to enhance the work they are doing”.

“I’m a firm believer in two-way electrification – when you take out an engine and a fuel tank from one of the UK’s heritage vehicles and replace it with an electric power system you should do it in a way that allows an owner to reverse the process later if they need to. It shouldn’t be one way only.”

HCVA Advisory Board chair Julian Barratt said: “It’s great to have a CEO of Garry’s energy and experience on board. I look forward to working with him very closely on our campaigns for the benefit of our members and the classic vehicle world we all care deeply about”

The ‘not for profit’ alliance was launched in May with a mission to protect and promote the sector and secure its long-term future. It campaigns on behalf of individuals and companies in the classic vehicle world including specialist restorers, dealers, parts suppliers and a broad cross section of the multi-billion-pound industry.

In just four months HCVA has built a strong membership base across the industry, owners and enthusiasts. It has attracted widespread publicity in mainstream and specialist media and gained the support of politicians, campaigners and leading industry and motorsport figures. Amongst the HCVA’s early achievements is to open a new dialogue with the DVLA to seek solutions to the problem of issuing of original or age-related registrations. It has also led campaigning to raise awareness of challenges around the introduction this month of E10 fuel.

The sector’s contribution to the UK economy is huge. Annual turnover including substantial international trade is estimated at £18.3 billion, the three-million-strong British classic fleet is valued at over £12 billion and annual tax revenue generated for the exchequer is close to £3 billion.

The trade, in which British craft skills and engineering excellence lead the world, supports around 113,000 jobs in thousands of specialist small businesses and supply chain firms. It also provides training places and apprenticeship schemes, giving opportunities to young people.

Web: – Twitter: @hcvauk – Instagram – hcvauk

Restored classics and those from long-term ownership confirmed for The Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show Sale this weekend

Restored classics and those from long-term ownership confirmed for The Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show Sale this weekend

  • A truly fabulous example of the 1986 Porsche 911 3.2 SSE Coupe from long term ownership
  • 1987 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth offered from 30 years of current ownership
  • A freshly restored 1970 Jaguar E-Type Series 2 4.2 Fixed Head Coupe
  • 1989 Jaguar XJ-S Convertible with just one owner from new

The catalogue for Classic Car Auctions (CCA) forthcoming sale has a fantastic line up; with 130 cars, including a number of restored classics as well as those from long-term ownership.

The auction, The Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration Show Sale 2021, is taking place at Stoneleigh Park this Saturday, on 25th September. One of the stand-out entries is a truly fabulous 1986 Porsche 911 3.2 SSE Coupe which has been owned by the vendor for an incredible 32 years. The UK-supplied example is smartly presented in Black with a grey leather pinstripe cloth interior and has just over 70,000 miles on the clock – estimated at £70,000 – 80,000.

Also offered from significantly long-term ownership is this 1987 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, which has been with the vendor for the past 30 years. Classically finished in Diamond White with a grey cloth Recaro interior, it has been sympathetically upgraded with a full Scorpion stainless exhaust, a Stage 1 remap and upgraded turbo actuator with the work carried out by Brooklyn Ford’s RS Department. The 65,000-odometer reading is supported by a large history file and this modern classic is estimated at £50,000 – 60,000.

Gary Dunne, CCA’s Sales Manager commented “We are delighted to welcome bidders into the auction hall here at Stoneleigh Park from Wednesday 22nd, through to the morning of the auction on the 25th. This is a fantastic opportunity to view and inspect any cars or interest as well as their all-important history files. We have put together another fantastic catalogue of cars and if you can’t join us in person, we are still offering online and telephone bidding – so you can bid from anywhere in the world.”

A number of Jaguars will cross the block on Saturday, including this freshly restored 1970 Jaguar E-Type Series 2 4.2 Fixed Head Coupe. Factory finished in Pale Primrose; it has recently benefited from a photo-documented ground-up restoration. Estimated at £45,000 – 50,000, the standard of work is superb, with a smart black interior and an immaculate engine bay.

This 1989 Jaguar XJ-S Convertible will be offered for sale from its sole owner from new; supplied new to them on 29th September 1989! Finished in Westminster Blue over Oatmeal leather, this much-loved car has had investment over the years, including work by marque specialists, Swallows. Estimated at £23,000 – 26,000, this car’s story was told in the Jaguar Enthusiasts Magazine in October 2018.

Bidding for the sale can be done in the auction hall in person at Stoneleigh Park, or alternatively from home via phone, online or commission. To register to bid, contact Classic Car Auctions on 01926 640888 or email prior to the auction day.

1986 Porsche 911 3.2 SSE Coupe
1987 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth
1970 Jaguar E-Type Series 2 4.2 Fixed Head Coupe
1989 Jaguar XJ-S Convertible

Forthcoming Auctions
Saturday 25th September – The Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration Show Sale
Saturday 11th December – The December Sale


About Classic Car Auctions (CCA)
Classic Car Auctions (CCA) is a specialist auction house for the sale of ‘Everyman’ classic cars; offering enthusiasts the opportunity to buy an impressive selection of iconic classic cars from across the eras.

Created in 2015 by the highly respected team from Silverstone Auctions and now an established business itself; we have a consistent sales rate of over 75% for the last three years and have proudly sold over £15,000,000 worth of cars during the same period. 

The majority of our sales are held in and around Warwickshire. Here our sales average a total of £1.5 million, with hundreds of dedicated buyers attending the one-day sale of approximately 150 cars each time. We are also established at the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show which is held annually at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham, where we have been the official auction partner for the last three years. 

At CCA our aim is to make buying and selling a classic car as easy and as straight-forward as possible. Our dedicated team of knowledgeable classic car specialists will provide sellers with honest and realistic estimates, combined with worldwide marketing and well-presented sale days which will help your car achieve a great price. We offer buyers a fantastic selection of affordable classic cars presented with extensive information and detailed condition reports along with low buyer’s fees.

If you’d like to know more about buying or selling a classic car with Classic Car Auctions, call us today on 01926 640888 or email