Celebrating Rolls-Royce and Bentley for over 60 years
In 1957 an advertisement appeared in the Oxford Mail proposing the formation of a Club for the owners of Rolls-Royce motor cars. Eleven people responded and assembled at Paternoster Farm, Yarnton, near Oxford and the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club was formed. Little more than a month later, fourteen cars attended the Club‘s first event.
Over the next three years, membership grew to over 100, and the Club’s publication, ‘The Bulletin’ was introduced. The scope of the Club was widened to embrace post-1931 Bentleys.
By 1970, membership had reached 1500, of which some 300 were from overseas, resident in no fewer than 37 countries. Eighteen Sections were now operating across the UK and Europe, organising local meetings and events.
By 1976 the growth of the Club meant that a permanent headquarters was needed. The Club formed a charitable trust, The Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation, which acquired a semi-
derelict building, The Hunt House at Paulerspury. After years of careful restoration and development, The Hunt House complex is now the envy of car clubs throughout the world.
1977 saw the Club pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee. At Her Majesty’s invitation, the Club paraded over 400 pre and post war Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars through the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle.
The 1980'S & 1990S
The Hunt House became the official home for the Rolls-Royce motor car archives, and now contains some 120,000 car histories, over 500,000 technical drawings and over 15,000 coachwork drawings together with numerous photographs and historic technical documents. This is an invaluable resource for restorers and researchers alike.
The Club’s Annual Rallies were now attracting well over 1,000 Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars. The Club’s Technical Seminars were
instigated: the maintenance and repair of all Rolls-Royce and post-1931 Bentley models, are covered by these weekend events, which include sessions devoted to coachwork and trim.
By the end of the 1990s, the club had launched its website; membership had reached over 9,000 worldwide. Registers devoted to particular model types had been introduced.
INTO THE 21ST CENTURY
In 2002, the Club returned to Windsor Castle to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Some 550 cars took part.
The club celebrated its own Golden Jubilee in 2007.
Membership figures remain stable, and both the UK and overseas sections continue to flourish.
In April 2011, the club had the honour of parading over 100 motor cars in front of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle in celebration of his 90th birthday. This event, in association with the Rotary Club of Windsor and Eton, raised considerable funds for the Prince Philip Trust Fund.
The RREC has grown from strength to strength in its 60 year history. The 2017 events have been centred round the celebration of this milestone.
In particular the Club’s Silver Ghost Register organised the Round Britain Tour in which some 52 Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars (including 16 Silver Ghosts) spent 18 days travelling around England, Wales and Scotland. Cars were shipped from as far afield as the USA, Australia and New Zealand to take part.
Sir Frederick Henry Royce
1863 – 1933
Sir Frederick Henry Royce, Bart., OBE, MIEE, MIMechE, was born on 27 March 1863 at Alwalton, Huntingdonshire. Against a difficult background, he immersed himself in his studies of mechanical and electrical engineering. He established F.H. Royce & Co with a friend Ernest Claremont as a partner. Royce’s talent brought the company quick success and a reputation for quality.
Royce began building his first car in 1903. He met C.S. Rolls in 1904, and Rolls-Royce Ltd was registered in 1906. Royce then spent his life designing and building outstanding cars, and from 1915, aero engines. Ill health forced him to work from the seclusion of France in winter, and southern England in summer. His search for perfection was already legendary when he died on 22 April 1933.
The legend lives on.
The Hon. Charles Stewart Rolls
1877 – 1910
The Hon. Charles Stewart Rolls was born in 1877, son of Lord and Lady Llangattock. Educated at Eton and Cambridge, with a degree in mechanics and Applied Science, he was passionately interested in cars, aviation and ballooning. He ran an agency selling French cars, but after meeting Henry Royce in 1904 became captivated by the quality of the Royce car. They joined forces, and formed Rolls-Royce Ltd in 1906.
A skilled racing driver, Rolls took the new Rolls-Royce cars to victory in many races, and to commercial success. Rolls resigned as Technical Director in 1909 to concentrate his energies on aviation, but remained a non-executive director.
C S Rolls was tragically killed at only 32 years old in 1910 during a flying display near Bournemouth, the first Englishman to die in a flying accident.
Walter Owen (W. O.) Bentley
1988 – 1971
W. O. Bentley, born in Hampstead, London in 1888 was the youngest of nine children. He was educated at Clifton College in Bristol, and left at the age of 16 to work as an apprentice engineer at the Great Northern Railway in Doncaster.
W. O. made a name for himself as a designer of aircraft and automobile engines in the early 1900s. His namesake company was formed in 1919. Bentley soon became one of the premier manufacturers of luxury and performance vehicles, leading to several victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. His motto was “top build a good car, a fast car, the best in class”.
After selling his company to Rolls-Royce Limited in 1931 he was employed as a designer for Armstrong Siddeley, Aston Martin and Lagonda.
At the time of his death at the age of 83 in 1971, W. O. was the Patron of the Bentley Drivers Club.