For understandable reasons it has been three years since the RREC last held its Annual Rally at Burghley House. But it was back in full flow (technical pun on RR oil filters intended) on 1 to 3 July, complete with enthusiasts’ cars, concours judging, trade stands, dealers, music and refreshments.
The RREC covers Rolls-Royces and Bentleys of all ages, and 2022 is the 100th anniversary of the 20 HP – so there were quite a few of these at the rally.
Here are some of the images from the event that we particularly enjoyed, and we hope you do too.
1951 Bentley Mk VI
You know that something is happening when there is a fine car in the hotel car park the evening before. This one greeted us on arrival. It is a relatively early Mk VI with the single cabin ventilation flap below the windscreen instead of the two just in front of the front doors. In lovely condition.
1926 Rolls-Royce 20 HP saloon ‘Old Marjorie’
Chassis number GUK76 was only one of many 20 HP cars here for the 100th anniversary of the model. It is an Australian car, ordered through agents in New South Wales and off test in July 1926. Originally an open tourer, it was rebodied as a saloon in 1931. As a late model it was delivered with a four-speed gearbox, but originally without front-wheel brakes. These were added later, with a Rolls-Royce brake servo.
1929 20 HP landaulette
Chassis GV09 is an even later 20 HP from the last year of production. The landaulette body is by Ritchies of Glasgow.
‘The Silver Dawn’
The ‘Silver Ghost’ model was never named as such during its lifetime – simply being referred to as a 40/50 HP until the introduction of the ‘New Phantom’ of 1925.
However, several individual cars were named. ‘The Silver Ghost’ (registration AX 201) is the most famous, and this is ‘The Silver Dawn’. It has been beautifully restored.
There were three main Rolls-Royce mascots: the Spirit of Ecstasy in standing and kneeling form and this far rarer version, The Whisper. The Whisper was made by Sykes, sculptor of the Spirit of Ecstasy, as a gift for John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 2nd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, and was a precursor of the Spirit of Ecstasy. It has been interpreted as a demonstration of the silence of the cars, but could also be a symbol of the secret romance between Montagu and his secretary, Eleanor Thornton, who bore him a daughter.
1958 Bentley S1 Flying Spur Van Gerbig Flying Spur
H J Mulliner built six-light and four-light versions of the Flying Spur four-door Continental. But there was one further Flying Spur configuration: a six-light with an opening rear quarter light. Only two were made, both for Peter Van Gerbig, to his own specific design requests, one in left-hand drive and one in right-hand drive. This is the unique right-hand-drive car, BC21FM.
1939 Bentley 4¼-litre Overdrive
B76MR is an overdrive model bodied by Vanden Plas in drophead coupé style. It was exhibited at both the Brussels and Geneva motor shows in 1939.
The jazz band was playing on Saturday, with an even larger brass band on Sunday.
1924 Silver Ghost Camera Car
101EM was converted into a camera car and used for film work in the 1950s. It has just been re-commissioned and is running again for the first time in 50 years.
1954 R-Type Continental
No RREC Rally would be complete without arguably one of the most beautiful cars of all time. This is BC58C.
R-Types (with a Rolls-Royce sneaking in behind).
Not as exotic as the Continental, but they make a fine group nonetheless.
1937 Phantom III sedanca coupé by H J Mulliner
One of only four Phantom III sedanca coupés and the only one to this design, 3BT103 was originally owned by the Antarctic explorer Aspley Cherry-Garrard and then by the actor Sir Ralph Richardson. It has recently been restored, replicating its original light green upholstery.
1935 20/25 Barker 2-door 4-light saloon coupé
Only two 20/25 cars were clothed in this body. This is GYH35.
1938 Wraith James Young 4-door saloon
A very fine body on the Wraith, the last Rolls-Royce model before the war, with independent front suspension. Fully restored, chassis WMB53 looks equally as good from front and back.
1923 Springfield Silver Ghost with Brewster ‘Tilbury’ body
This car was built at Rolls-Royce’s Springfield, Massachusetts factory and bodied by Brewster in one of the standard styles available from the coachbuilder and given names redolent of Britishness. It is an early car, with right-hand drive and four-speed gearbox, often judged to be the best specification. We liked this car very much, and so did the concours judges.
This 1955 Cadillac knew its place, and parked itself at a discreet distance from the Rolls-Royces and Bentleys. A fine car, though.