DOWN THE PUB

WITH CHRIS WIL­LIAMS

Motor Sport News - - Historics -

He owns the Napier Bent­ley “The Napier was my first race car so it was in the deep end. I kept my eyes and ears open and Peter Mor­ley even­tu­ally said do you want to buy it. I man­aged to raise the funds and it has been a good buy. I’ve had a load of fun. I’ve had it about 15 years now and it was one of those cases that I’d got to have it. I didn’t have any money, but I’d still got to have it. “

He loves that era of car “The 1920s aero en­gines were the pin­na­cle of en­gi­neer­ing on earth. There was no space and noth­ing beyond it. The air­craft in­dus­try was the top of the tree. Then they found these old cheap air­craft en­gines at Brook­lands and bolted them into cars to cre­ate all this silli­ness. It was in­stant high power and the en­gi­neer­ing is su­perb. The spe­cials are so much more in­ter­est­ing than the reg­u­lar stuff. The public still loves the crazy stuff.”

It is a fam­ily af­fair “My daugh­ter Rachel came into the scene a few years ago with a lit­tle air­craft-en­gined Austin 7 of all things; it used a ra­dial en­gine of all things, a Black­burn Thrush. Then we got the Hardy Spe­cial with a supercharged Jap en­gine.”

He is an en­gi­neer “We man­u­fac­ture bits and pieces for old and in­ter­est­ing bikes, cars and air­craft en­gines. We make gears and crankshafts and all sorts of things. It is all clas­sic and vin­tage en­gi­neer­ing.”

The Napier Bent­ley is a chal­lenge “Get­ting the Napier stopped is al­ways a chal­lenge. It’s a very heavy car at one and three-quar­ter tons with 600bhp and 1250 lb/ft of torque. It’s al­ways dif­fi­cult when it comes to brak­ing. The car has put three peo­ple in hos­pi­tal over the years and it is a bit of a hand­ful.”

He’s had some scary mo­ments “The most mem­o­rable event was at Chol­monde­ley. Look on Youtube un­der Bent­ley Napier crash! I came to­wards the chi­cane at pace and re­alised they had moved the bales. I hit the straw bales head on, it launched the car and it skid­ded along the top of the bales with all four wheels in the air be­fore the nose dug in and spat all the bales out.”

Wil­liams: aero en­gine fan

JUNE 15 2016

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