Director Bentley Motors 1922 - 1931
"Bentley Spirit" inspiration
Hubert Pike was Director at Bentley Motors Limited from 1922 to 1931, where he was Head of the Service Department.
Hubert Pike was also responsible for the organisation of new owner / driver training and the setting up of racing cars at the Bentley site in Kingsbury, London.
In 1922, the 32 year old Hubert Pike was intending to buy a farm and settle in Cornwall, when one day while walking down the High Street at Cricklewood, North London, Pike by chance encountered W. O. Bentley.
Bentley was in need of funds to continue his motor company business and persuaded Pike to alternatively invest his money in Bentley Motors.
Pike and W. O. Bentley were the longest serving Directors at Bentley Motors Limited.
The Bentley car registration number PD 40 was used for experimental work. The car is pictured here in 1923, with her registered owner Norah Eileen Pike, Hubert Pike's sister.
The following information was kindly supplied by Richard Myers, sourced from the Bentley Kingsbury records...
NK3645 Chassis 46 was registered in 1922 (1923?) to Miss Pike of Pishiobury Park, Sawbridgeworth. It’s a very very early vintage Bentley – literally the 46th car built.
What is interesting about the rest of that record is how much the car was used and the various works done by the service department. Apparently, it did about 120,000 miles in the 10 years of ownership by Miss Pike, from 1922 (1923?) to 1932.
There is more information about the car at the Vintage Bentleys web site (it may have been that the car was first registered to Hubert Pike).
Pike did not race the Bentley motor cars himself, being content to sell cars at Bentley's showroom, where he was well received and liked by the customers.
In 1925, Bentley Boy Woolf Barnato bought the company and became Chairman, while W. O. Bentley became Managing Director and Hubert Pike, Ramsay Manners and John Kennedy Carruth, Directors.
In 1931, the Bentley Company was in financial difficulties and the company was put into receivership.
Hubert Pike was taken on by Rolls-Royce to manage the Service Department for the existing Bentley customers, many of whom whose cars were still within their five year warranty period.
Based at Kingsbury in North London, the staff at the Service Department also included ex-racing Team Manager Nobby Clarke.
Maintenance and repair work on the "W.O. Bentleys" began to tail off in 1936, as the last of the five year warranties expired.
To keep the Service Department busy, Hubert Pike and Nobby Clarke built ten 'RC' Series cars (reconditioned chassis), six with 4½ litre engines and four with 3 litre engines.
Hubert Pike with Bertie Kensington-Moir, a former Bentley salesman and racing driver.
Return to top
The early 1925 3-litre Bentley car registration number FY 7290 was owned by Julius Charles Neville's brother-in-law, and the car inspired Neville to work at Bentley Motors. This is the colourised photo of it in situ at Colliston Castle, Scotland, where his sister and brother-in-law lived.
The following information was kindly supplied by Susan Neville...
I have been researching my grandad Julius Charles Neville, (originally Neville Dahm), on his change of name by deed poll in 1934, on which he had Hubert Pike as a signatory. They both worked in the Sales Department of Bentley Motors, my grandad originally joined in 1926.
My grandad's sister, great aunt Mary - her husband Major Richard F. Bruce owned the early 1925 Bentley (pictured) - and this inspired my grandad to work for the company in 1926.
It ended up being bought by a man who lives in Texas. I randomly googled the registration as part of my family research and made contact with Robert McLellan (with his fine Vintage Bentleys web site). He was having the Bentley restored by professional coach-builders James Pearce of Wisborough Green, West Sussex.
Guess what, it was only ten miles from my mums house..! So naturally I visited the workshop to see it being carefully reconditioned, and when it was finally restored, myself and my husband were given a short run in it around the lovely Sussex lanes, it was amazing…!
Later, we met with the owner Robert and his wife Bea, became good friends and they invited us to the Bentley / Rolls Royce rally in Texas where they live - what a trip.
Here is a snippet about Neville at the Kingsbury Service Department...
A few days later, again at the request of Carruth, Neville started work at Kingsbury, overseeing customer care and sales.
It was Neville who apparently conceived the idea of buying in old Bentleys, overhauling them mechanically and cosmetically, whilst making some modifications, then selling them on at a profit with a six months guarantee. This venture proved so successful that more than eighty cars were so processed, and was a clear indicator of the enduring popularity of these great cars.
However, all good things must pass, and Neville's time at Kingsbury came to a close in 1934 when the new Rolls-Bentley was launched and Neville was transferred to the Rolls-Royce and Bentley showrooms in Conduit Street, where he remained until he resigned in 1938.
This would indicate that the correspondence that Johnnie Winther has unearthed must have been some of his last in his post at Kingsbury.
And another snippet, sourced from the Bentley Drivers Club Review, April 1970...
I cannot let "Nobby's" article (October 1969, page 336) pass without comment. It is easily understandable that as a result of his unique experience, meeting W. O. in France during the 1914-1918 war, he gives all the credit for the "Bentley Spirit" to W. O.
It should be remembered that most of us at the Service Department and at Sales, hardly ever saw W. O., and the majority had all too little contact with him.
I venture to suggest, that as regards the mechanics connected with racing, Nobby was successful in transfering some of his enthusiasm for, and loyalty to W. O. Nobby deserves more of the credit for the "Bentley Spirit" amongst the racing mechanics than so far has been written on this subject.
How then was it that a "Bentley Spirit" was felt by practically all employees? For myself I can truly say that my "Bentley Spirit" was born after driving my brother-in-law's 3-litre Bentley short chassis VDP sports car, before I ever worked for that wonderful Company, and after that experience I had no peace until I was given a job.
There is no doubt in my mind that at the Service Department most credit was due to that fine character the late Hubert Pike, for whom we young fellows had profound respect and admiration, and from whose guidance many of us benefited.
What then now was the feeling at Sales? Of course everyone in the firm thought highly of W. O. as the creator of the finest motor car of its day, in fact many of us considered it at least five years ahead of its time.
If, with all due respect to W. O., I may mention the only criticism of him I ever heard voiced, it is that he allowed the 3-litre short chassis speed model to be discontinued, instead of developing it to keep ahead of likely competitors. That this decision was reached may well have been due to a drop in sales at that time, but would there have been such a drop with modernised cars? My experience when I bought cars for reconditioning (with smaller wheels, changed axle ratio to suit, etc.), and the enthusiasm of present day owners, surely bears me out!
May I take this opportunity of thanking Jim MacHarg (January 1970, page 79) for so lucidly correcting the errors, which unfortunately appeared in print, regarding the 8-litre that J. C. Neville did sit in and drive at over 100 m.p.h. when the birds threw their shadow across the path of that 2-seater beauty.
With best wishes to you for 1970 and further success to the Bentley Drivers Club Review.
J. C. NEVILLE
"The boat was drunk dry three times by the 'boys'.
Most of the pre 1931 employees from Services are on this picture."
J. C. Neville
Return to top