What a treat it was to write the content for CHW Classics!
CHW Classics is a small wedding-car-hire business in north Norfolk, owned and operated by Tim Travers, retired police officer, and Nick Grice, health-and-safety consultant.
The two friends share an enthusiasm for classic cars and are both involved in the running of Sheringham’s annual Classic Car Show, which has been a popular event for well over ten years.
Henry and Walter
Their larch-green Rolls-Royce, lovingly named Henry, is a 1979 Silver Shadow II, frequently seen cruising around North Norfolk on outings that are as much about the car ride as the destination. Trimmed with shining chrome and glossy wood veneer, and upholstered in cream leather, the car’s interior is the very essence of luxury. Henry’s namesake is Henry Royce (1863-1933), the brilliant engineer responsible for designing the famous Rolls-Royce engines for cars and aircraft.
Walter, a Balmoral-green Bentley Eight, manufactured in 1990, is named after Walter Bentley, the highly respected engineer and founder of Bentley Motors Ltd. Walter, too, is upholstered in cream leather, and on his bonnet is the famous Bentley Flying B, designed by Charles Sykes, creator of the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy.
It’s true that Walter and Henry make a handsome pair. They’ve certainly turned a few heads in their time. But CHW classics just wouldn’t be complete without Charles.
Charles Joins the Team
On Sunday, 9 August, Tim and Nick travelled down to Seaford, in East Sussex, to pick up Charles, a spectacular Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II in willow gold. My daughter, Amy, and I were invited to go along for the ride. Unsurprisingly, we accepted.
Charles is named after Charles Rolls, talented motor engineer and co-founder of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. In addition to his significant contribution to the world’s motor trade, Mr Rolls found distinction in his death as the first person in the UK – and the first British national – to be killed in an aeronautical accident that involved a powered aircraft. He was only 32 years old.
Tim and Nick took it in turn to drive their new car home to Norfolk, and Amy and I enjoyed a comfortable journey in Charles.
Sunday, 9 August was a hot, sunny day, and the south coast was glorious. Riding in Charles’s front passenger seat over the Sussex downs, I revisited scenes from my past. When we drove through my old home town of Heathfield, time seemed to fold back on itself.
In front of us, the Spirit of Ecstasy was leaning forward into the wind.
For 15 years, Charles belonged to Russell Gilbert, a professional orchestral violinist.
Mr Gilbert has held many prestigious positions during his long career, including Co-Leader of the English National Opera, Co-Leader of the National Symphony Orchestra, Principal Second Violin in the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and No.4 First Violin in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He’s also played with the London City Ballet, Saddlers Wells Royal Ballet, BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra, Bath Symphonia, and the London Mozart Players.
Mr Gilbert was clearly sad to say goodbye to his beautiful Rolls-Royce. He said he could see that the car was going to a good home and that it would be well loved. That, he said, made him happy.
The Photo Shoot
Now that the whole team was together, it was time to create a website and take some promotional photos. Three cars and seven people set out on a Sunday morning in September for a business-mixed-with-pleasure outing to All Saints Church at Burnham Thorpe. The car boots were packed with ribbons, bows, cleaning materials, flasks of coffee, and home-made cake.
See more of these three beautiful cars on the CHW Classics website.