Running over July 25–26 in the UK, the 25th Anniversary Silverstone Classic has attracted the largest field of pre-war race cars ever assembled — all competing for the inaugural Kidston Trophy, which is named for legendary Bentley Boy and Le Mans–winner Glen Kidston.
Among the 57 competitors will be 12 of the rarest and most valuable Bentleys in the world — a stellar ensemble that will include several Bentley three-litre models, a collection of 4.5-litre racers and a legendary supercharged ‘Blower Bentley’.
Glen Kidston and Bentley Chairman Woolf Barnato famously won the 1930 Le Mans 24-hour race in the Bentley Speed Six ‘Old Number 1’. This was the second year in succession that the Speed Six had taken the chequered flag, and the fourth year in a row that a Bentley was victorious.
An adventurer and aviator, Glen Kidston was one of the original Bentley Boys. A former lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy, he was famously torpedoed twice in the same morning during World War I. He later became a submarine commander, but when not at sea he set records as an aviator and motorcycle speed trialist.
Kidston died less than a year after his Le Mans win when the de Havilland Puss Moth he was flying crashed during a dust storm over the Drakensberg Mountains in Southern Africa. A memorial to him stands at the crash site — an aluminium propeller set in stone designed to warn passing aviators.
Look out for the next (September) edition of New Zealand Classic Car magazine as we’ll be featuring a gorgeous 1952 Bentley R-Type. Although the R-Type appeared well past the era of the Bentley Boys, this particular example was once owned by Oscar-winning British actor Ronald Colman, and Dinah Sheridan — who starred in that iconic motoring movie, Genevieve — rode in the Bentley as part of the Auckland to Christchurch Rally in 1997.