NAPIER-BENT­LEY

Motor Sport News - - Club Monsters -

There have been many in­cred­i­ble spe­cials and aero-en­gined leviathans from the Vin­tage Sports-car Club over the years, but the 24-litre Napier-bent­ley of Chris Wil­liams has ar­guably been the most en­ter­tain­ing. And suc­cess­ful.

Wil­liams has used the car at a range of venues, from Sil­ver­stone to Shel­s­ley Walsh, tak­ing on – and some­times beat­ing – more ag­ile ma­chines like Mor­gans and Bu­gat­tis.

His beast is pow­ered by a Napier Lion aero en­gine that pro­duces 600bhp and, more im­por­tantly, 1250lb/ft of torque. That’s im­mense enough to make the four-speed gear­box largely re­dun­dant, with Wil­liams us­ing top gear even at Mal­lory Park’s Shaw’s Hair­pin. Be­tween 1800rpm and 2000rpm power also goes from 220bhp to 470bhp, per­haps help­ing to ex­plain why the rear of the car is of­ten wreathed in tyre smoke.

Built on a 1929 Bent­ley chas­sis by David Llewellyn and Peter Morley in the ’70s, the Napier-bent­ley was based on the suc­cess­ful Pacey-has­san spe­cial.

Ini­tially banned from the Brighton Speed Tri­als for set­ting fire to some straw bales, the car’s early cir­cuit for­ays weren’t too suc­cess­ful ei­ther, both Llewellyn and Morley suf­fer­ing crashes. But Morley per­se­vered and started win­ning, keep­ing the car un­til fi­nally giv­ing in to Wil­liams’s reg­u­lar at­tempts to buy it in 1999.

Wil­liams fit­ted a si­lencer – hard to be­lieve if you have ever heard it – to al­low it to com­pete at more venues, and has be­come a pop­u­lar VSCC reg­u­lar. There’s noth­ing quite like look­ing into the Sil­ver­stone sky ex­pect­ing to see a vin­tage air­craft, only for Wil­liams to ap­pear from un­der the bridge as he ap­proaches Brook­lands. KT

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