George Daniels, CBE, DSc, FBHI, FSA (we don't know what all of that means, but we're impressed) passed away recently and left not only a legacy as one of the greatest watchmakers to have ever trod upon planet Earth but also a stunning car collection. He sounds like the pinnacle of cool; he was one of the few people who could design and make a watch from scratch with no assistance, and was an avid racer. Here are the highlights of this amazing collection.
- Sir Henry Birkin's 1929-1932 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Supercharged Single Seater. This is the car that set the Brooklands Outer Circuit lap record at over 137mph in 1931. Daniels said "For all its inconvenience it is a most exhilarating car to drive both on the road and track.”
- Sir Henry Birkin's 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Long Chassis Touring Spyder that raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1932. This car was also owned by Mussolini's number two, who used to give speeches from the hood of car. “It doesn’t have the thundering majesty of the Bentley at speed nor the sweet burbling exhaust note when idling, but one has to concede that when introduced in 1930 its technical specification was much in advance of the Bentley.” said Daniels.
- 1908 Itala 100HP Grand Prix Car. This car won the 1908 French Grand Prix and the1910 Brooklands All-Comers Plate. “while I have long been an admirer of this car, ownership could only be seen as a heady dream. Yet suddenly, and without warning, came the opportunity to acquire it and I did so without hesitation. It is a giant among motor cars with a colossal stride propelled by its four-cylinder, twelve litre engine.”
- Frank Taylor of Taylor Woodrow Construction's 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback by H.J. Mulliner. This was a "great favorite" of Daniels'.
- The Maharajah of Bhavnagar's 1929 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Tourer by Vanden Plas. Daniels liked Bentley... a lot.
- The Earl of Craven's 1907 Daimler 45hp Roi-de-Belges Tourer. “allowing for its idiosyncratic behaviour and its occasional bouts of sulking and refusing to cooperate, it is my favourite car. The car I would keep if allowed only one. With its hissing carburettor, exposed valve gear and whirring chain drive to the wheels it has all the uncomplicated charm of the primitive creation the very essence of the horseless carriage. For that most enjoyable of all motoring experiences – just meandering through France with nothing to do more urgent than eating and drinking – it is the perfect carriage.”