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Silverstone Classic honours legendary Bentley Boy Glen Kidston

24 July, 2015

Running over July 25–26 in the UK, the 25th Anniversary Silverstone Classic has attracted the largest field of pre-war race cars ever assembled — all competing for the inaugural Kidston Trophy, which is named for legendary Bentley Boy and Le Mans–winner Glen Kidston.

A brace of Blower Bentleys in the pits during practice for Le Mans in 1930 / Bentley Motors

Among the 57 competitors will be 12 of the rarest and most valuable Bentleys in the world — a stellar ensemble that will include several Bentley three-litre models, a collection of 4.5-litre racers and a legendary supercharged ‘Blower Bentley’.

Victory at Le Mans — the winning Bentley takes the chequered flag / Bentley Motors

Glen Kidston and Bentley Chairman Woolf Barnato famously won the 1930 Le Mans 24-hour race in the Bentley Speed Six ‘Old Number 1’. This was the second year in succession that the Speed Six had taken the chequered flag, and the fourth year in a row that a Bentley was victorious.

An adventurer and aviator, Glen Kidston was one of the original Bentley Boys. A former lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy, he was famously torpedoed twice in the same morning during World War I.  He later became a submarine commander, but when not at sea he set records as an aviator and motorcycle speed trialist.

Glen Kidston (L) and Woolf Barnato after their famous 1930 Le Mans victory / Bentley Motors

Kidston died less than a year after his Le Mans win when the de Havilland Puss Moth he was flying crashed during a dust storm over the Drakensberg Mountains in Southern Africa. A memorial to him stands at the crash site — an aluminium propeller set in stone designed to warn passing aviators.

Bentleys at Le Mans painting / Bentley Motors

Look out for the next (September) edition of New Zealand Classic Car magazine as we’ll be featuring a gorgeous 1952 Bentley R-Type. Although the R-Type appeared well past the era of the Bentley Boys, this particular example was once owned by Oscar-winning British actor Ronald Colman, and Dinah Sheridan — who starred in that iconic motoring movie, Genevieve — rode in the Bentley as part of the Auckland to Christchurch Rally in 1997.

The Jowett Jupiter turns 70

John Ball has always enjoyed tinkering with old boats and cars. He’s old enough to think having gearbox parts on newspaper on the floor of his bedroom, while the relevant car sat waiting on nail boxes, was a normal part of growing up. His passion has always tended towards old British bangers. He reckons he’s fortunate not to have got caught up in the American muscle scene.
John’s love affair with this Jupiter started in December 2015 when, with some time on his hands during a Christchurch trip, he searched online for ‘cars, before 1970 and in Christchurch’.

A passion for classics and customs

In the highly competitive field of New Zealand classic and custom restorations, reputations are won or lost on the ability to maintain consistently high standards of workmanship. A company managing to achieve this is D A Panel beating Ltd, of Rangiora near Christchurch. Is your classic or custom car restoration stalled, or in need of a refresh, or perhaps you are looking for experts to rebuild that recent import project out of Europe or the ‘States?