Frank Dale & Stepsons: 2010 Open Day
Uncommonly cold weather for May failed to deter 100s of visitors to the West London showrooms and workshops of Frank Dale & Stepsons.
Speaking with a relieved Giles Crickmay on the day, he revealed that the proceedings had started very early for the enthusiastic, family-run business. The prospects of rain and unscheduled roadworks did not, however, spoil a well-planned event, now in its second year.
Guests were able to admire a number of carefully selected cars either on display outside, or inside the showrooms and in the company’s new storage facility over the road from the main building.
Not all were for sale – such is the generosity of BDC and RREC owners (and, to be fair, the strength of the Frank Dale name) that rarities such as the 1968 Bentley T1 Coupé by Pininfarina, several Bentley S1 Continentals and a Pebble Beach award winner, the 1937 Bentley 4¼-litre Sedanca Coupé by Gurney Nutting, were ‘on loan’ for the day.
Ivor Gordon and James Crickmay would like to sell you a car, of course, so among the guest exhibits was a fine selection of ‘showroom stock’ (if you can apply that expression to a Bentley or Rolls-Royce...), with three finding new owners during the day.
The workshops formed the backdrop for indoor activities and guests enjoyed a warming cup of coffee (supplanted by something a little stronger later in the morning), while admiring several restoration and service projects in progress.
Many visitors had travelled from afar; although for Kensington-based Malcolm Clube it was a short ride on his custom motorbike down the A4. Clube, ex-Jack Barclay showroom sales in the 60s, could be seen deep in conversation with Ivor Gordon, no doubt discussing the finer points of some of the great cars that have passed through their hands.
The company showed many early cars (including several magnificent Cricklewood Bentleys) but its speciality is Derby-production cars of the 30s, right up to the Bentley Continentals of the present day. During the Fifties, although under direct Rolls-Royce control, Bentley produced timeless designs such as the R-type Continental and later S1, S2 and S3 coupés and saloons.
These, and the corresponding Rolls-Royces of the period, formed the majority of cars on display last weekend (9 May). Workshop Manager Vincent Roma was on hand to answer technical questions, while the company’s trim shop (under Matthew Turton’s careful guidance) was open for business having – of all things – a Giallo Fly Ferrari 246 Dino in for a complete re-trim. The latter demonstrates that you don’t have to be a Rolls or Bentley driver to use the company’s services.
Having toured the premises and enjoyed lunch, the final treat for guests was a chauffeur trip in one of three cars on hand: a 1938 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Open Tourer by H.J. Mulliner, a 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Drophead and the latest Phantom Coupé. From 1938 to the present – just the span of cars offered by Frank Dale & Stepsons in West London.
Do call Giles Crickmay on +44 (0)208 847 5447, or drop him an email ([email protected]) for details of the next Frank Dale Open Day.
Please click HERE to see all Frank Dale & Stepsons' cars for sale in the Classic Driver car database.
Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Classic Driver
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