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Geoff Kingston 28-08-17 11:48 PM

Enjoyable drive
Went for an enjoyable drive this afternoon around west wales not in a Bristol but in my 1953 R Type Bentley which started its life in Malaya in the ownership of the Sultan of Johor, at 63 and with a lot of joint pain at times I find driving a car like this quite taxing, thankfully today was not one of those days and the drive was most enjoyable. I have to admit I do not like being tailgated by morons in modern cars who feel obsessed to pass old cars, in my 603 I can have fun, in my now resting 411 I could leave them in my wake as I can with my S2 Bentley, but a 1952 R Type? The answer for the old hooligans among us is yes, the car is heavy to drive and heavy to balance not something I can recall reading in road tests but it is a point where the car sits into the corner under power with minimal correction and responds to inputs of the steering exactly as you expect, the R Type is wonderful for this and will corner at speeds that give all the thrills of driving a car properly as opposed to a modern insulated and computer controlled / assisted driving experience , going through a series of S bends near where I live I find a lot of modern cars dont keep up, a few may hold back expecting me to end up in the hedge but it is surprising how many drivers then try to overtake afterwards to prove a point, sadly for them if I am heading for home I can pass them at will on the next down hill. To do this the R Type needs timing, as to a certain extent does the 603 and in the S2 just go for it, acceleration is as good as a 411, what a wonderful engine to put into a Bristol!
If we are going in the other direction a 40 then 30 speed limit is encountered and out of that its 4 miles to the next village and the open road where the modern followers can vent their frustration or not as the case may be.
This may not be the way that some or a lot of classic car owners drive their cars but I have owned cars like these since I was 19 they opened up a whole vista of performance opportunities and mechanical failures that one could only dream about or have nightmares about and I remember one memorable drive in the early 80's where I went onto a motorway, on the continent of course, in my 411 and completed part of the journey to a toll bridge for well over an hour at 125mph with occasional bursts up to 135, would I do it again yes given the chance, is it irresponsible probably, do I care not at all, motoring as we knew it was fun and still can be even within modern seed limits, a friend told me that someone had commented that I gave my old cars some stick perhaps I do but I drive them like they were intended to be when they were new not as museum pieces, tomorrow if the weather is fine the R Type will get another gallop this time into mid Wales back to Aberystwyth and down the coast, just for the hell of it!

PaulS 29-08-17 12:44 AM

You sir, truly get it.

Paul in ridiculously soggy Houston.
1971 411 s2 project (mostly dry so far)

Geoff Kingston 29-08-17 10:10 PM

Hope things don't get any worse for you all weather wise, did the trip four and a quarter hours approx including a short coffee stop, the run is wonderful often traffic free and at an easy pace, I headed for Lampeter, Tregaron, Devils Bridge, Aberystwyth and back down the coast, the old R Type did not miss a beat. The level of traffic on some of these roads is not much different to when it was new . I have done the run in the 603 as well and the larger lazy engines do make easy work of all the hills which they mainly cope with in high gears.
The old knee and elbow held up as well so all in all the day lived up to expectations, am looking forward now to next year when I can do the trip in the 401 though I suspect with a fair bit more gear changing.
The R Type is two years older than me and in possibly better condition! a wonderful old car and an ideal companion to an early 50' s Bristol.
The S Type likewise for the 411 so maybe that is the ideal set of cars, I shall still keep my 603 though.

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