Vintage Bentley – Swiss Mountains & Valleys Rally 23 August-4 September 2009
The “Bentley Boys” were a group of exceptionally rich British car enthusiasts who drove their Bentleys at mad-cap pace in the 1920s and kept alive the marque’s reputation as the best singularly high-performing car in the world. Their exploits were truly wild and verging sometimes on “eccentric” – but they won Le Mans 4 times against “lesser” marques.
As 2009 marks the 90th anniversary of the Bentley marque, what could be more appropriate than a Rally here in Switzerland with magnificent examples of the motor-cars that have toured all over the world? Many of these vintage Bentleys have possibly travelled further than some of our readers – from the Arctic Circle (!) to Rio, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia, through Africa,
Europe and the Middle East.
The rally drivers themselves will ship their cars from the US, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, England and Scotland, and, less arduously, Switzerland. Some of the participants are well-qualified, true mad-cap – in a refined way, of course. There’s one driver whose very colourful life has included owning a diamond mining operation in South Africa. Another whose family has owned a Scottish distillery for more than 200 years; and another who “lost” (OK it was “nicked”) his 80-year-old Bentley radiator cap in a rally in South Africa – an inventive Zimbabwean mechanic replaced it with a rubber gear stick cover and a champagne cork (see photo) – ingenious eh?
The tour – sponsored by Chopard, Laurent-Perrier and Victorinox – will go from Vitznau to St. Moritz, Sedrun, Interlaken, Gstaad, St-Luc, and Glion.
These magnificent vintage Bentleys have amazing histories and a glorious heritage. One of the Bentleys (a Derby) – all of whose chassis’ carry a serial number thus allowing accurate historical records of ownership to be meticulously recorded – shows the next Derby Bentley to have been acquired by H.H. The Prince Ali Khan in 1933.
A personal invitation
But here’s the exciting part: You have a personal invitation from Swiss Style to come and see the cars and chat to the drivers on Sunday 30 August at Gruyères from 11:45–12:30 (or, if you prefer of course, anywhere along the route). The cars can be viewed alone in Gruyères until about 15:30. Special permission has generously and exceptionally been granted by the commune to allow the Bentleys into the village for the morning.
So come and have a splendid free tour of these museum-quality motor-cars.
A visit to see these magnificent machines is an indispensable antidote to the trivialities of the 21stcentury – it’s not often one has the chance to see them all together.
We look forward to seeing you there. Great photo opportunity, too, with the superlative medieval backdrop of beautiful Gruyères.