Bentley Brooklands

I didn’t mean to praise Bentley quite so faintly. I liked Bentleys, but I guess in 1992 I felt compelled to emphasise Brooklands, since there really wasn’t much that was new about the car. They had taken the turbo off the Eight, as recounted in The Complete Bentley available digitally for £12.31. After tax changes the price of the Brooklands came down to £87,500, making this essentially the entry-level Bentley. The press launch had been at Brooklands the previous month and they gave me a plaque to say I had driven a Bentley on such of the historic track that remained. This was before the developments that have taken place since, including the magnificent Mercedes-Benz World centre that opened in 2006. Perhaps I gave the Bentley less space that week because I wanted to highlight Saab’s research. I was coming round, even then, to the view that technology held the key to developments in driving we hadn’t even thought of. This was four years before Google had been invented and two decades away from driverless cars. You can now buy a Bentley Brooklands for the price of a well-used Mondeo.
It is not easy for an old aristocrat to recapture youthful vigour without losing some dignity. Bentley Brooklands has a fine alliterative ring for buyers tempted to a new non-turbocharged version of the old Bentley Eight at only £91,489. Its badges will be in traditional British racing green, to emphasise the connection with the track built by H F Locke King on his Weybridge estate in 1907. Brooklands was the cradle of motor racing, and Bentleys won stirring contests here, such as the six hours endurance race of 1929.
The 'Bentley Boys' wove themselves into the rich tapestry of Brooklands, dyed into the wool as indelibly as the Spitfires and Wellingtons created there by Vickers-Armstrong. Some Bentley Boys, like Clive Dunfee whose car topppled over the lip of the Members' Banking in 1932, lost their lives.
Brooklands is now a thriving industrial park. Gallaher's offices fill a gap in the Members' Banking, and one small corner is dedicated as a museum to halcyon days, when Locke King's estates extended not only to a large part of Surrey, but a good deal of Sussex as well.
The Bentley Brooklands is a magnificent anachronism, strong, quiet, powerful, and furnished in impeccable taste. Burr walnut, and deep Wilton carpet with tailored overmats give the interior the feel and the aroma of luxury. The loudest sound is not the clock - quartz movements no longer tick - but the faint creaking of the Connolly leather on the sumptuous upholstery. The huge 6.7litre V8 engine rumbles under the long bonnet, rejuvenated with the latest electronic technology, but still devoutly middle-aged. It is an imposing car, introduced just as Rolls-Royce and Bentley sales show signs of a recovery in Scotland and the North of England.