our thanks to the Bentley Drivers Club

W O at Isle of Man in D.F.P.

W O at Isle of Man in his D.F.P.

With his first cars, a V-twin belt-drive Riley and subsequently a four cylinder Sizaire-Naudin, W O became an adherent of the motor car.  Having completed his premium apprenticeship, W O took a job as assistant to the works manager of the National Motor Cab Company, helping to keep a fleet of 500 Unic taxis on the road.

In the spring of 1912, however, his brother Horace happened to see an advertisement in The Times seeking a new director for the concessionaires of the French car factory Doriot, Flandrin & Parant (D.F.P.).  Raising the necessary £2000 from the family, W O become the active concessionaire for D.F.P.  A little later Horace bought out the remaining partners for a further £2000 and ‘Bentley and Bentley’ commenced business from their Hanover Street show rooms in 1912.

W O considered that the 12/15 hp tourer, being possibly the best of the D.F.P. range and susceptible to tuning, might prove successful in sports events.  With the help of his mechanic from the D.F.P. factory, Leroux, W O entered a number of events, the first being the Aston Clinton hill climb on 15 June 1912, and broke a number of records at Brooklands.  The effect on sales, overseen by Horace, was “quite remarkable”.

Just before the outbreak of World War One W O visited a foundry at Corbin where engineering components were being cast in aluminium.  Seeing a paperweight fashioned from aluminium to look like a piston, he concluded that aluminium alloy pistons would give the D.F.P. greater high speed reliability and secretly commissioned a set to his own design.

His participation with the D.F.P. in the TT and the new ‘Tourist Trophy Model’ were, however, too late; with the outbreak of war both Horace and, shortly after, W O joined the armed forces.