Winter is too long . . .
With another car to rely on for the day-to-day grind, my classic goes into hibernation each winter.
The ritual has become as familiar as the childood Blue Peter episodes every autumn when the tortoises were put away in a cardboard box for a few months.
So in the last week of October I reluctantly put the Turbo R into storage expecting to live without it for the next five months, but knowing it was a better idea than being tempted to drive it on salted roads.
Or so I thought. My previous car was a little more fragile than the Bentley and putting it away for the winter was an easy decision.
The Bentley being rather younger than my old Jensen SP, and partly because of its size and gait, feels more robust. By December as the winter weather had remained mild, I began to wonder whether I had acted too hastily.
A chance conversation with a friend early in January who was telling me about his fantastic New Year’s Day blast in his Continental R and I could stand it no longer. The following day I was back behind the wheel and planning a long trip to the home of one of the finest collections of cars open to the public.
The Turbo R was the perfect car to spend six hours on the road in on a trip to Beaulieu National Motor Museum on a dull and murky day, taking the motorways in its stride and offering a surprising turn of overtaking speed (for a 2.3-tonne car) when needed.
Given the variety of vehicles on display at Beaulieu, it wasn’t a surprise to stumble upon a 1930 supercharged Bentley 4½ litre, although not an official development by the factory, perhaps the spiritual ancestor of the Turbo R.
The car was put away again after that weekend, and afterwards winter really began to bite, and with no sign of it seeing daylight again until April. The 400 miles-plus travelled also showed with rising fuel prices there aren’t many quicker ways to burn through cash. But for a single weekend of pleasure in what has been a very long winter, and to remind me what a splendid beast the Bentley is, it was priceless.
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