Video: ‘The Silver Lady’ – Royce & Bentley

Video: 'The Silver Lady' - Royce & Bentley - Racing Daydreams by Colin Johnston

The video below – courtesy of the ‘Race Day Replays’ YouTube channel – is a look at the 1962 Rolls-Royce & Bentley rally at Blenheim Palace.

Fashion may have changed, and the presentation style certainly has, but it is familiar enough scene. It could be the Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance held today… I suspect many of those same cars would be in attendance.

The 40/50 hp Rolls-Royce “Silver Ghost” is quite rightly the focus of this film. While there was little that was particularly remarkable about the design of this iconic car, it did feature an incredibly flexible & robust short-stroke engine. This, combined with exceptional care in manufacture – in forging, machining, polishing & assembly – gave cause for Autocar to declare it “the best car in the world”. A tagline that Rolls-Royce continued to exploit, decades after Hispano Suiza had taken the automobile to even greater heights.

“Yeah, yeah… where’s the racing?”

Dear reader, watch carefully when you click on the video. Amongst the great & the good – the polished chromium & The Spirit of Ecstasy – is a warrior!

Captured in passing, while mentioning their Le Mans successes, is a particular Bentley. This car – in the hands of its creator, “the greatest Briton of his time” – achieved the most remarkable race result.

UR 6571 – the second race-prepared 4.5-litre ‘blower’ Bentley.

The car that ‘Tim’ Birkin took to Pau for the 1930 Grand Prix de l’A.C.F.. The day that the supercharged Bentley finally came good. The day that a Bentley road car humbled the Bugatti écurie to snatch 2nd place in the Grand Prix.

So let them fawn over “Nelly in her Nightie”, we’ll raise a glass to “le camion le plus rapide du monde”!

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