WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CLUB
The Silent Sports Car Club
The Club is for “good chaps” who own, who are interested in, or who admire Derby Bentleys. In my happy experience over the last 15 years, most owners seem to qualify as “good chaps” and thus are potential members. Membership of the Club is very onerous, however: membership dues are horrendous (£nil), duties and responsibilities are many and varied (mainly, to drive your Derby – if you have one – On the Road as much as possible and to send a few photos of your car to us for use in the Gallery) and privileges are awesome (to be bombarded with emails from the Secretary once he has organised an Outlook group with members’ email addresses, and occasionally to turn up to events organised by this shambolic organisation). You may by now realise that we do not take ourselves too seriously – the only thing worth taking seriously is enjoying driving our wonderful cars! And perhaps I should add that the masculine most definitely includes the feminine, as in ‘chaps’. That’s the last of the PC waffle.
The Club has been in existence since about 2000, when the current Secretary realised that derbybentley.com was still available as a domain and snapped it up. A website followed, with a searchable photo gallery, all organised by the Secretary’s friend and right hand man, Tomas Knapek. Gradually a plan formed: The Club came under the umbrella of Marketing Scotland Ltd. The Club’s objectives were refined from “a good idea at the time” to (a) Inform, (b) Celebrate, (c) Organise occasionally and (d) Co-operate.
Over the last 13 years, these objectives have been fulfilled spectacularly well.
We have had this website, which though out of date at times has informed folks about our wonderful cars.
We have researched, photographed, written and published a slim tome entitled Bentley Beauty, which has flown off our shelves steadily, to the point now that the shelves are expressing some relief that they are only carrying about 50 copies out of the 1,000 originally published. Result! It is doubtful whether all the time and effort involved has been recompensed in hard monetary terms, despite the outrageously high unit prices. However, it has been most gratifying to have received many expressions of support and approval from happy purchasers.
Finally, we have organised the 70th and 75th Anniversary weekends in 2003 and 2008, about which we may write summaries elsewhere on this website. The first, based in Derby, attracted over 80 cars and was a happy occasion. The second, In the Welsh Borders and Cotswolds was a lower key affair but as enjoyable for the 30 odd cars who pitched up. Most importantly, friendships have been made, developed and strengthened. The Club co-operates with the RREC and their Derby Bentley Register, whose annual weekends are legendary; with the BDC, when they happen to turn their attention to Post Vintage examples of the marque; and the Derby Bentley Society in the USA, for whom the Secretary has recently written an article on Park Ward’s standard saloons in their excellent publication, On the Road. We were involved in the early planning stages of the recent Bill Boddy Run from London to John O’Groats with John and Clive Boothman, which by all accounts has been a resounding success.
If you are a member of the Derby Bentley Register, if you have contacted us in the past by email or otherwise, if you have bought a copy of Bentley Beauty, you are automatically enrolled in this august Club, unless you inform us that you wish to be denied such a privilege.
The re-launch of the website in its current form is intended to be our contribution to the 80th Anniversary of the Derby Bentley, in addition to the Secretary’s rambling discourse at the RREC Annual Rally in June at Rockingham, Northamptonshire, covering aspects of DB coachwork with reference to the cars there present, which were a particularly fine group.
In the future, we hope to develop this website further; create a marketplace for DB cars and parts; organise one or two more tours, probably to parts of our native and most beautiful Scotland; and become vociferous through the Blog on this site on matters of concern re Derby Bentleys, particularly when we spot unhealthy trends developing. Over the last two years, for instance, there have been sad and bad instances of perfectly good cars with original coachwork being bought by firms who them auction the bodies on eBay and use the chassis for building some rather less than special bodies for flogging to folks who wish to pose, rally or race in them, without regard to preservation of what are now important historic artefacts. We have instituted the Mad Man Trophy, awarded annually in the Derby Bentley Register, to those mad enough to restore a Derby Bentley saloon without regard to the likely adverse financial consequences, given the values of even the best saloon examples in the current market.
Feel free to join us in our mainly altruistic endeavours, drawn by the delights of a much undervalued but wonderful sports car of the 1930s. We think the Derby Bentley may be the best of its type!