A specialist vintage Bentley outfit is entering the final stages of preparing four classics from the 1920s for a gruelling challenge.
William Medcalf Vintage Bentley, based in Hampshire, is getting all four cars from the British marque ready for the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, which takes places in the summer.
The event is sure to take its toll on these practically priceless motors from 90 years ago – it covers more than 8,500 miles over 33 days on all sorts of terrain, from gravel tracks to dirt roads, the Gobi desert and Alpine roads. It’s a serious test of endurance for both machine and driver.
William Medcalf is a restoration and rally preparation specialist, and a world-leading expert on vintage Bentleys. The cars he is preparing for this year’s event have been meticulously prepared by his dedicated team.
The team is a world authority on vintage Bentleys and say that they will do whatever it takes to make sure a car is ready – working through the night is not uncommon.
The cars will not only have all necessary parts checked, replaced and tested ahead of the first day of the rally on Sunday, June 12, but William will personally drive each of them for some considerable miles to make sure that everything is perfect before they are handed over to their owners.
The Bentleys have certainly got a good chance in June – cars prepared by William Medcalf’s team have finished every rally they’ve entered in the past decade. The cars that will be looking to continue this impressive record by heading to the Peking-Paris start line include two Bentley Super Sports continuations and two Bentley 4½ litres.
They needn’t worry about being far from home, either, with the firm offering a ‘Flying Doctor’ service that should have any replacement parts needed with the cars in 24 hours. As well as sourcing original parts, William Medcalf Vintage Bentley’s team is capable of making any necessary component thanks to its sophisticated computer-aided design and equipment. It blends traditional heritage with cutting edge technology of the sort more normally seen in the world of F1.
William Medcalf has a long history of preparing cars for endurance racing and has taken part in events such as the Endurance Rally Association’s Flying Scotsman, which he won in 2014 and 2015, Peking to Paris in 2007 and 2010, in which he took the class win, and the Benjafield’s 24.
The Benjafield’s 24 celebrated the 90th anniversary of Bentley’s first victory at Le Mans, and a film has been made to document the event, which can be found here.
Bentley won Le Mans in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930 – before returning to take honours again in 2003.