What could be finer than chugging through the English countryside, across France, and down to Monaco in your 86-year-old Bentley?
In May, Glenice Shepherd and her son Adam will be winging their way to the Continent to take part in the Monaco Historic Grand Prix.
“Granny’s going away in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car!” Glenice’s five year old grand-daughter Nina, informs, as The Starfish rocks up at her Peppermint Grove home to check out this fine machine, its newly polished British racing green exterior gleaming like a pond.
The beloved 1929 W.O., almost as well travelled as its owner, will next week be shipped from Fremantle to England, where she’ll be stored at William Medcalf Vintage Bentley in Sussex.
“The rally will be so much fun,” Glenice, an active member of the WA Bentley Drivers Club, enthuses. “I know a lot of the other Bentley owners from previous rallies around the world.
“We’ll be in one of four groups, each with 17 cars. We all converge in Monaco for a fabulous weekend, culminating in a black tie gala dinner.”
Adam grins, “It’s going to be interesting seeing how mum and I cope together, doing 200 miles a day on the French roads.”
She’s a reliable, if fickle, old girl, and Adam admits he’s had his moments with her in the past.
“I drove to my wedding with the groomsmen, but to my embarrassment I simply couldn’t get her out of second all the way,” he chuckles, taking The Starfish for a spin around the back streets of Peppermint Grove.
Heads swivel and folk point as we motor past picnickers on the riverbank near Freshie.
After the rally, Glenice will then join her other son Cameron for a run from Monaco into northern Italy, checking out the end of the Mille Miglia vintage race at Lake Garda and ending up at Lake Como. The car will then be shipped home from Genoa.
Over the decades, this magnificent machine has been occupied by rogues and aristocracy, and everyone in between. First owned by a judge, she was later pinched by irreverent joy riders, who left her a little worse for wear. A substantial reward was offered for her return, and eventually the vehicle was retrieved and carefully restored.
The newly married Countess of Seafield, Lady Nina Caroline Olgivie-Grant then acquired the car in 1930, when she was 24.
Eventually the car made its way to Western Australia, and into the possession of Glenice and her late husband David in 1998.
“David and I have had so many wonderful adventures in this car. We’ve done rallies together all over the world – both coasts of the US, England, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa, you name it!” says Glenice.
“I so enjoyed the tours, they’re so much fun. There’s never any stress, we don’t do time trials and navigational tasks like some other car groups!”
“After David passed away, the WA Bentley Drivers Club helped modified the accelerator so my legs could reach it, so I’ve remained heavily involved with the group,” she explains.
She and Adam have been spending some of their summer taking the beloved vintage machine for a few practice runs at the farm in Yallingup.
Now it’s Monte Carlo or bust!