Montagu Award

Rob Halloway of Mercedes-Benz, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, Eric Dymock

I could not have put it better myself. Clive Jacobs’s introduction to the award at the Guild of Motoring Writers’ dinner in the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, was gracious.

“There was a very large entry for this year’s Mercedes-Benz Award for the Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy. A tough task for the judges then in deciding who in 2009 made the greatest contribution to recording, in the English language, the history of motoring.

But in the end they reached an accord and the trophy will be jointly presented by Lord Montagu and Rob Halloway, Public Relations Manager of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

The winning citation says – "this book is beautifully written, well laid-out and provides a very thorough history of an important British marque that is equally attractive to both enthusiasts and passing browsers. With its company chronology and history of production models and prototypes it is also a comprehensive reference work."

That book is…”The Complete Bentley”… and the author and publisher is Eric Dymock.”

There were lots of people to thank. Clive’s reference to the book’s layout was a tribute to Andrew Barron’s design. It was good that Martin Broomer of Bentley Motors was on hand; he was encouraging throughout the book’s production. The reviewers have been generous, particularly Stuart Bladon in the Jewish Chronicle: “A brilliant production, The Complete Bentley deserves to be recognised as one of the great works of motoring history and merits a place on any keen motorist’s bookshelf, eminently worth its price of £55.”

Malcolm Tucker wrote kindly, in the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Bulletin: “Buying a book by Eric Dymock is a bit like eating a meal prepared by Gordon Ramsay, watching a film starring John Travolta or visiting The Dorchester Hotel in London; you expect something special. This does give us the whole panoply of Bentley lore.”

There were more to thank, including Richard Charlesworth, Julia Marozzi, Denis Miller-Williams and other members of the communications staff at Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Crewe. Thanks were also due to Philip Hall of the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation, who was especially helpful in providing access to the photographic archives of the Foundation and the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club. Alan Bodfish administrator of the WO Bentley Memorial Foundation and the Bentley Drivers’ Club provided many photographs. Motoring art collector Tony Clark of Burrington, Cherry Garden Lane, Wye, Ashford, Kent gave permission to use artwork items loaned from his extensive collection. More photographs came from Frank Dale and Stepsons and LAT. Michael Turner allowed us to reproduce his 1984 painting of a Bentley at Mulsanne. It was thanks to Warren Allport, formerly of Autocar and editor of Queste, who read the manuscript and made valuable amendments and corrections that The Complete Bentley is notably accurate in the detail of the specifications and descriptions. Notable Bentley book writers whose work we consulted include Malcolm Bobbitt, Jonathan Wood, Graham Robson and Richard Feast.

As with all Dove Publishing books, my thanks also went to print consultant David Bann, publishing director Mike Roberts and most of all Dove Publishing’s finance director Ruth Dymock.

At 83 His Lordship is taking time to get over an injury to his head, suffered when he fell out of a bunk on a rolling ship, sustaining an injury requiring 13 stitches. He couldn’t quite make the podium for the presentation. We are fortunate that Mercedes-Benz is so mindful of its heritage role that it can sponsor an award like this, which inevitably can feature rival makes of car.

This was our second Montagu Award. In 1997 the Guild presented it for Saab, Half a Century of Achievement.

Guild Award winners including, from sixth left Ray Hutton (Bentley International Award), Tony Dron (Rootes Gold Cup), Rhian Angharad Jones (Sir William Lyons and Phil Llewellin Awards), Ray Massey, Daily Mail (Journalist of the Year) and Eric Dymock.