Other Gordon England bodied cars

Pictures of a rather splendid GE bodied Sunbeam…
 
 
David Howe writes:
 
An advert for Gordon England bodies from Autocar July 16th 1926, you
will note prices in the centre for the Brooklands , Cup, and ‘Standard
Model’  This latter is a Chummy. At this time anyway EGE was an agent
for Austins and sold standard cars as well.
 
IMG_5860
 
 
A 1925 Darracq DTS with Gordon England bodywork coming up for sale soon- via David Howe.
 
Darracq GE Coachwork. 2jpe
 
Darracq GE Coachwork
 
Darracq GE Coachwork. 1jpe
 
Darracq GE Coachwork. 3jpe
 
IMG_5171
 
This car was on display at the Myrton Motor Museum near Edinburgh for a number of years
 

 

GE bodies Morris Minors.

Edited Gordon England 2

LAT Plate Red 7538 Gordon England Fabric Saloon edited ws

 

1930 Gordon England GE Triumph Super Seven Autocar Road Test January 24th 1930

Gordon England bodied Bentley  – an ill-fated story…

GE Bentley-2

 

"Before the next Le Mans came round there was a good deal of Bentley

record-breaking activity. In those days, when sheer speed and endurance

counted for much more with the public than it does now, even 
comparatively unspectacular records being rewarded with headlines in the 
papers, it was sound policy to have a go at records from time to time,  quite apart from the valuable experience it gave us. We learnt an awful 
lot, for instance, from the attack we made on the `D' class records at 
Montlhery in the spring of 1926.
The car we took out to France in March was a nine-foot chassis 3 litre,for which Gordon England had provided a very light, beautifully streamlined
single-seater body, so simple that it could be taken off or put on again in ten minutes.  We had some merry, but strictly non-professional, excitement in Paris on the way out. The party consisted of Barnato, Benjy, Frank Clement, George Duller, Bertie Moir and myself-and a friend of Barnato's whom we shall call Brown. Now Babe numbered some gay young men among his friends, but none could match the spirit of Brown, especially in Paris in the spring,in already quite light-hearted company. After a good dinner at the Carlton Hotel in the Champs Elysees, everyone said they were going out to see the bright lights ; Bertie and I were too tired and decided we would go to bed.  During the course of the night they all kept drifting back, singly and in pairs, in various stages of inebriation-all except Brown, who had last been seen making off in the opposite direction to the Champs Elysees with an intent expression on his face. At half past four in morning I was knocked up by the night porter; the British Embassy was on the line, the voice at the other end informing me that a certain Mr. Brown, believed to be of our party, was in debt to the tune of £26 at a house of ill-fame, and would we please go along with the money and bail 
him out. Bertie and I, far too cross to feellike Good Samaritans, took a taxi to the address, where we were at first warmly welcomed as new customers, and, after explanations and the payment of the debt, were handed Brown's clothes. Brown, however, was still in far too
excitable a state to leave the premises voluntarily, and Bertie and I were
finally reduced to frog-marching him down the front steps and into the waiting taxi.  Even that wasn't the end. The night was yet young for Mr. Brown, who hopped out at the first red (traffic) lights. We never caught him, and saw no more of him until the next morning when we bailed him out 
again-from the Gendarmerie this time. What we were after at Montlhery was the 24-hour record, which Barnato and Duff had taken the previous September in Duff's own 3-litre Bentley, and above all the 24-hour record at above 100 m.p.h. The prestige to be gained from travelling at 100 m.p.h. for a day and a night in a 3-litre car would be enormous, and at that time, with financial crises raging worse than ever and a horribly blank two-year interval since we had had any sort of competition success, we desperately needed something to shout about. The luck wasn't with us that year, though, the worst year I think in Bentley Motors' history. The drivers complained that the sorbo-on-aluminium seat was too uncomfortable, and after I tried it out, incidentally having no trouble inputting over 100 miles into the hour, I agreed with them. It wasn't the track surface that caused this discomfort, it was more the shape of the seat. The
trouble with the track, though of course it is very much rougher today, was that it was too smooth. At Montlhery we found ourselves during the testing period running at constant revs all the time, and this brought its own curious trouble with universal joints which failed to get lubricated because they never altered their position.

We had our first crack on 31st March, survived for rather over twelve 
hours, and took a dozen or so records at speeds of around 100 to 104 
m.p.h. before the engine burst. A month later, and after a lot more 
work, we tried again, improved slightly on our previous times, until the 
engine went again. This was infuriating. I really had set my heart on the
24 hours at over 100 m.p.h. and I was certain the car was easily capable of it. Nobby Clarke and his men installed another new engine, and we gave this an exhaustive test.  The valves were the cause of the trouble, repeatedly breaking up and falling into the cylinder. We just couldn't understand this, and in the end I got Clarke to put the oscilloscope on to it. This revealed that the valves were fluttering wildly at dead on 3,250 r.p.m. We had, in fact, hit a `valve spring period', and we couldn't think what to do about it. The simple cure would have been to fit larger tyres, but this was no good either as there was a primary cam-shaft period between 3,150 and 3,250 r.p.m.  In the end we fitted smaller tyres and went up to 3,450, which the engine seemed to stand quite happily and which would give us the speed we would need.

Still everything went wrong; even the weather was as nasty as it could
be, and after waiting several days for a clearance, it was still looking
threatening when Barnato went off just before mid-day. He did the first 
hour at just over 104 m.p.h.., and then it began to rain, the rain turned to hail, a strong wind arose, turned to a gale, and it became dark ages before it should have done.  We huddled in the pit, a frozen, sodden group, while the little streamlined Bentley pounded round and round the steeply banked white concrete circuit for hour after hour. Without headlights, and guided only by marker lanterns, the car with its trailing cloud of spume and spray gave the eerie impression of a piece of mechanism on a huge machine that is under control only by some engineering miracle. It seemed impossible that human hands were guiding it.  In spite of the diabolical conditions Barnato and Clement managed to do the first 1,000 miles at over 100 m.p.h., and there was no question that we had a lot in hand if only the weather would give us  a chance.
Early in the morning Barnato came in from his second spell, after
succeeding in putting the average up to 101 m.p.h., and I could see that
even he was just about all in. So together we went back to the hotel in 
my car, had a good stiff drink and a wash, and got into some dry 
clothes. Duller was at the wheel then, and I could hear him easily while 
I shaved, the engine note fading only slightly as he came down from the 
banking on the far side of the track.  Suddenly the engine died and at once cut clean out, reminding me  momentarily of that night crisis in Coventry when the B.R.1. was on its bench test. I rushed out of the bathroom, downstairs and out into the forecourt to the car. I could hear that the engine had restarted by the time I had jumped in, and I sat there with my finger on the button, holding my breath, waiting.A few seconds later the engine note expired again, and there was complete silence until I could bear it no longer and drove off flat out for the track. There was still a horrible quietness when I pulled up at the pit, and, even more curious, there was Duller, who should have been driving, running down the track. Of the car there was no sign at all.  Saunders appeared from behind the pit, and together we found it in the end, completely wrecked, upside down in the ditch bordering the road circuit which branched off from
the fast banked track at Montlhery. And underneath it, apparently dead, was one of our mechanics, Wally Hassan.  It wasn't till some time later that we could piece together what had happened. Duller, it appeared, had got into a nasty skid at the top of the banking, had gone through 360 degrees several times and had eventually come to rest, with the engine stalled, on the grass. Very shaken, and already tired and sopping wet, he had re-started and driven into the pit and got out, intending to get someone else to take over. But there was no one there ; everyone else had, like Barnato and I, gone  off for a clean-up and something to eat, leaving Hassan and Saunders to look after things. Wally today is a very distinguished engineer, with magnificent work behind him at Jaguars and Coventry-Climax, but in those days he was very young, very keen and very ambitious. 1lc had also had very little driving experience, but, seeing Duller arriving looking so groggy and obviously incapable of driving again for a while, he had decided that this was his opportunity to show what he could do and save the day for us at the same time. Before Duller could prevent him, Hassan was in the driving seat, had started
up and was away. You had to be a very good driver to handle that sensitive
short-chassis light car on greasy concrete at around the 100 mark, and I think it is to young Hassan's credit that he managed a third of a lap before he got into a long slide, which took him through the barrier on to the road circuit, twice over and over -and into the ditch.
Of course he had done what he had thought was the right thing, but in 
merely getting into the cockpit he had broken the regulations, and any 
records after a non-registered driver had taken over would not have been 
recognised. Somehow Saunders and I got his limp body into the car, still uncertain whether or not he was alive, and drove off to the nearest doctor's house. He wasn't very helpful, informing us by sign language and Gallic shoulder shrugs that he could do nothing, so, by this
time feeling rather desperate, we rang up the American Hospital. `Bring him along-we'll look after him,' they told us promptly; and we drove the now semiconscious Hassan as gently as possible into Paris. They kept him for three weeks in a private room, and then refused to take a penny for 
their services.  I had been determined that the Bentley should be the first car to do a hundred miles for a day and a night, and after we had sorted out all our mechanical problems there had been nothing to stop us-except the awful weather combining with a piece of well-intentioned foolishness. We had failed, and it was a failure I felt more deeply than any other in the Bentley Company's history.

Incidentally, Hassan wasn't the only casualty of that unfortunate affair 
in France, for I developed congestion of the lungs while we were working 
on the car. Like most people, I particularly dislike getting ill abroad, 
where everything is unfamiliar and you don't feel you can trust anyone 
who doesn't even talk your own language. One morning a sinister
looking nun marched into my room with a black bag, turned me firmly over on to my front and, still in complete silence, stuck a dozen little glass 
flasks all over my back, filling them with something nasty-smelling and 
very inflammable, and then setting fire to them. Bertie Moir, doubtless attracted by my cries for help, came in in the  middle of the operation. The expression of horror on his chubby face made me forget the agony, and my laughter set all the little glass flasks a-tinkling like sleigh bells.
Curiously enough this mediaeval witchcraft did the trick all right. The 
vacuum created when the oxygen was exhausted by the flames in the cups 
must have drawn out the poison in some mysterious manner, leaving me 
with a mass of scars but with clearedlungs."


"W.O." by W O Bentley, Hutchinson, 1958

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