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Classic Bentley Britain's best

2012-12-03 08:35

RED ALERT:The 1931 'Birkin' Bentley claimed the coveted title of Car of the Year at the 2012 International Historic Motoring Awards.

This magnificent ‘Birkin’ Bentley roared past its opposition to take the Car of the Year award at the 2012 International Historic Motoring Awards in London.

The car set a world record for a British car at auction when it sold for the equivalent of R 71-million earlier in the year.

The 1931 4.5-litre Supercharged Bentley set the Outer Circuit record of 220km.h at Brooklands in 1932 in the hands of Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin; then a truly hair-raising feat. Eighty years later, after the death of its owner legendary watchmaker George Daniels, the car set another record when it was sold at Bonhams for R71-million. The combination of unimpeachable provenance, auction excitement and sheer beauty found in this single-seater machine clearly caught the imagination of the historic motoring enthusiasts who voted to award it the Car of the Year title.

Setting the tone for the evening, guests arriving at London's St Pancras Renaissance Hotel were greeted by an unforgettable quartet of rare and hugely valuable historic cars, with James Bond’s personal transport - the iconic 1963 Aston Martin DB5 that starred with Daniel Craig in 'Skyfall' – lining up alongside the extraordinarily beautiful Bentley ‘Embiricos’ Special, together with a superb Ford GT40 and the famous Lindner Nöcker lightweight E-type Jaguar.

Five-times Le Mans winner and double World Sports Car champion Derek Bell acted as Master of Ceremonies and he was joined on stage by "the voice of Formula 1", Murray Walker, to pay tribute to the winner of the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award, Murray’s long-time friend Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, whom he summed up by saying: “If ever there was an aristocratic petrolhead, it’s Edward Montagu.”

ALL THE WINNERS:

Car of the Year – ‘Birkin’ Bentley
Lifetime Achievement – Lord Montagu of Beaulieu
Museum or Collection of the Year – The National Motor Museum
Motoring Event of the Year – Windsor Castle Concourse of Elegance
Personal Achievement of the Year – Jeremy Jackson-Sytner and Graham Sharpe (Windsor Castle Concourse of Elegance)
Restoration of the Year – Paul Russell & Co. for the 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S
Motorsport Event of the Year - Goodwood Revival
Race Series of the Year – Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy
Publication of the Year - Inside the Paddock (David Cross)
Club of the Year – Aston Martin Owners Club

Nominations were assessed by an international panel of expert judges, including Jay Leno, Derek Bell, car designers Ian Callum and Peter Stevens, Horst Brüning of FIVA, Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen (responsible for global co-ordination of Volkswagen Group's Classic activities), motoring journalists Robert Coucher and Tony Dron, Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance chief judge Ed Gilbertson, Bruce Meyer (founding chairman of the Petersen Automotive Museum) and Lady Susie Moss, wife of the legendary Sir Stirling Moss.

The 2013 International Historic Motoring Awards will open for nominations early in 2013. More information at the Historic Cars website.

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