THE Bentley Drivers Club (BDC) has helped make a final wish come true for a terminally ill classic car enthusiast.
James Field, an illustrator and artist from Tumble near Llanelli, had always yearned after a ride in a mighty 8 Litre Bentley – his favourite car – ever since spotting one in a museum while on honeymoon with wife Sally 33 years ago.
When he was diagnosed with a terminal neuroendocrine carcinoma brain tumour earlier this year, Sally decided she’d strive to make her 59-year-old husband’s dream a reality. After an appeal, the BDC (www.bdcl.org) graciously came to the rescue in the form of Club member Charles Prince who noticed Sally’s heartfelt message on the vintagebentleys.org forum;
Charles quickly contacted friend and former BDC member Bob Bentley whose London-based classic car sales company had a 1932 8 Litre on its books. “There was a lovely drawing of an 8 Litre, created by James, with Sally’s post and it looked identical to the car Bob was selling – I wanted to help so I called him,” explained Charles, a motor dealer who actually owned the car himself at one stage before selling it on to Bob.
Remarkably, when Bob received his call from Charles, James and Sally happened to be in London as father of one James – whose paintings were being exhibited at The Mall Gallery – was receiving a full membership certificate from the Guild of Aviation Artists.
“Bob told us the car was available and could we make it to Wandsworth in an hour,” explained James.
“I couldn’t believe it, so we raced there on the tube and were met by our driver, Tony, who treated us to a fantastic half-hour ride around Wandsworth and Clapham.
“I have been in love with Bentleys since I was a teenager. The car was absolutely beautiful, in mint condition, and it was a truly fabulous experience. I am extremely grateful to Mr Bentley – not to mention Sally who so kindly arranged it all.”
The car itself had real history attached to it, too, being the sole survivor of only three short-chassis 8 Litre Coupe by Mayfair models, and the last Vintage, completed by Bentley Motors. Bob, who owns Classic Automobiles Worldwide Ltd, added: “I was delighted to help make James’ wish come true. I’m so pleased he enjoyed his time in the car.”
To show his gratitude, James has offered to paint an image of the 8 Litre Bentley just for Bob. “I will treasure it,” said Bob.