24litre Napier - Bentley. Then and Now

If we go back a few years then you'll see a tonne of film shots from Vintage Sports Car Club meets. My first camera was a Pentax ME Super that my Poppa gave me and I'd regularly join him on VSCC meets across the Midlands. Curborough, Mallory and my favourite of our English tracks, Cadwell Park. I'd take hundreds of photographs over the meets and see crazy cars like a 4litre V-Twin engine on a GN and the even more crazy 24litre Napier W12 engine from a Sea Lion. 

Flicking through some of my old film prints the other week I came across this photograph and it put a smile on my face. This is that crazy Napier - Bentley in 1994 at Curborough. I was 14 at the time and seeing this photograph reminded me of something else.

The W12 Napier engine in the infamous Napier - Bentley

I've been to the Retro Rides Gathering for a fair few years now and I've covered the show for Retro Cars Magazine. The show has a tonne of awesome guest cars and last year there was a car that looked and sounded (wow you really can't mistake this sound!) rather familiar.

Unknown to me at the time, I photographed the Napier - Bentley again; a second set of photographs of the same car, 20 years on. 

The very same 23 litre Napier - Bentley 20 years later.

Half of the W12 Napier Sea Lion engine

I like the round-a-bout way of this story, even more because I was unaware of the 1994 photograph at the time. I've a tonne of old film prints and a few less negatives from back when I went to VSCC meetings and I will most definitely dig a few more out to see if I can revisit some of the cars now, including one of my favourites of a 1938 Grand Prix E-Type ERA, which has another cool personal story behind it.

Until then I'll leave you with what 550 bhp from a Napier W12 can do to 6・15 Dunlop Racing tyres, and I'll see  you anon.


One of those moments when you wished you  hadn't cropped out the guy holding his hands over his ears!