In around 2005 I worked for a very well known Rolls Royce and Bentley heritage dealers and I had the very good fortune to collect this car, a Bentley S1 from the customer’s underground garage in Central London, to drive to our workshops in rural Essex.
All went well, I got the train into Tottenham, then the Tube to Harley street, where I met the Doctor who owned this wonderful car. We took his Smart car to his garage, and when he drove the Bentley out into the sunshine my heart skipped a beat as it was, and is, such a beautiful car. The glamour of one of these S1 saloons in the metal is something to savour.
The doctor got out of the driver’s seat and held the door for me to get in. At this point he asked me how long I’d been working as a driver for this company, and when I replied ” 3 days” I could see panic cross his face, like a crashing wave on the beach. I then said “Don’t worry, I’m a very good driver” which surprisingly, did reassure him.
It was a beautiful summers day, and after a few tips on how to drive the car, the doctor backed up across the street to watch me pull away in his pride and joy. At this point I turned the tiny key in it’s Yale housing on the dash and nothing happened. Slightly panicked and not wanting to look like an amature I kept turning it, on and off, and I was wondering if the car was so quiet that it had maybe started, and I couldn’t hear it.
The doctor could se my distress, and shouted to me “Is there a problem?” I replied
“It wont start!”
“Turn the key, and then press the button next to it, to start her” He said.
So, that is what I did, four or five times. Nothing was happening, I could hear a distant clicking, and I thought it must have started, but no, my efforts were in vain. I turned the key yet again, and pressed the button, and now I was a little frantic and starting to blush. I turned to look at the doctor, to see him across the road, laughing with tears rolling down his red cheeks. The button I had been pressing was the boot release, so he had been watching me open and close the boot with more and more vigour and increasing frustration. He said “My dear boy, you have been opening and closing the boot for the last five minutes, and even though I could stand here all day watching you do that, I really must get back to the office!” He kindly came over and pointed to the correct button, and I drove off, laughing.
I didn’t realise I was lost in Central London until I had gone past Marble Arch for the fifth time. I made it back to the workshops later that day, when I took this photo, to always remind myself of this fantastic adventure that I had with one of my dream cars!