Despite encompassing 143,000 square feet, Bentley’s parts warehouse in Crewe, England, apparently was bursting at the seams. That’s perhaps not surprising, since the company stocks more than 55,000 parts lines for all Bentleys built since 1955 (and for Crewe-built Rolls-Royce cars assembled there through 2002). With seven million items on hand, and new models like the Continental Supersports and the Mulsanne coming onstream, Bentley needed to make some space. The solution? A giant, two-day garage sale.
The weekend event, held in late September, drew some 600 Bentley and Rolls-Royce owners, restorers, and enthusiasts, who traveled not only from the United Kingdom but also from France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Hungary, and the United States. They snatched up items ranging from screws (for £0.50 apiece) and owners’ manuals (for £ 5) to V-8 engine blocks and complete gearboxes. In contrast to a typical swap meet, all the parts were original unused factory stock.
Although Bentley representatives characterized the event as a success, don’t think that the factory’s trove of vintage parts has now been picked clean. “Our objective,” said Richard Durbin, Bentley product public relations manager, “was to show customers that we have both the original parts and the expertise at Crewe to support their cars for many years to come.”