Jim Byrnes Explains his Passion for Classic Cars

The Passion of One Man

To my fellow Rolls Royce and Bentley collectors:

The Passion of One Man To my fellow Rolls Royce and Bentley collectors: When I was 22 I acquired an interest in my first second-hand car dealership. Whilst the dealership specialized in MG sports cars, it had an array of cars it traded over time. One of those cars was a 1963 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud. I commandeered this car and so commenced a love affair with the Marque.

I have a great love of antiques, Gothic, and Georgian architecture and, of course, fine manor houses with amazing stone work. I appreciate cars that were over-engineered and this would, of course, apply to Rolls-Royce. As I became financially more able, so my collecting habits matured. I believed the Bentley S-series and Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud series continentals and factory adaptations to be among the most beautiful cars of their time.

The problem with acquiring a proper well-maintained factory adaptation was not so much money but with the sheer low-volume produced and thus the rare cars. An SIII Bentley adaptation in RHD is probably the hardest car in the world to acquire. Three were built. Two are in nobility ownership and are likely not to see the market in my lifetime. Likewise, to find an SC Cloud III either in RHD or LHD is a task on its own with only 7 LHD cars and a similar low volume RHD counterpart produced.

So imitation, re-creation is a form of flattery and there are many who have the same desire to own one of these amazing cars. Today there are several companies around the world that offer cheap and cheerful new adaptation/conversions made from donor cars. At Byrnes Motor Trust, our history and practice with the process are second to none.

Whilst not wishing to enter into a discussion about quality, there are a few points worth considering. The original factory worked from well-prepared documents with engineering drawings of the proposed works. Byrnes Motor Trust has a copy of original build specifications and still has access to two factory made adaptations. These cars were acquired by Byrnes Motor Trust in 2012, VIN LSZD493 & VIN SXC123. Our restorations department has painstakingly pulled botchers completely apart and measured all components specific to the adaptation, they were also able to see how components were joined or fitted. At the same time, Byrnes Motor Trust had acquired approximately 50 Cloud and Bentleys and the Restoration team was able to disassemble several cars and thus able to clearly see, measure, note and photograph changes that occurred in the adaptation build process.

Interestingly, when the factory adaptations were inspected and components measured, it was quickly apparent that they were each truly bespoke productions as the cars differed ever so slightly and the doors and rear guards (fenders) differed subtly in size and shape. It was a direction from the Byrnes Motor Trust Chairman to build forward using the same materials where possible, to make our own adaptations exactly as witnessed... or better- if one can be so bold as to improve the Marque. One example would be the window frames; it would have been a much simpler quicker process to make these of steel. However, Byrnes Motor Trust has decided to create them from brass- just as the factory in years past. Subtle differences, however, were considered as an enhancement to the overall build and chosen based on their merit. S2engines had an upgrade when the S3 model came out as well as they also changed the connecting rods and these choice articulations dispensed with the engine’s tendency to knock and furthermore increased compression ratios. BMT has built our engines using the later connecting rods and with the increased compression ratio. Additionally, and extremely discreetly, Byrnes Motor Trust also converts the existing distributor to an electronic ignition, thus making the engine run much smoother.

During the S-series and Cloud build run finishing with the series 111 in 1965, if you were a buyer for one of the factory adaptations you went to your dealer and paid a substantial deposit to have your adaptation built. There you were presented with numerous options and modifications that were available to make the car truly the bespoke motorcar that is the Rolls-Royce and Bentley adaptations. When the order arrived at Crewe, the company’s main factory, a 4-door unit coming down the production line was removed, tagged for adaptation, and placed on the Mulliner line. The car’s bespoke inclusions were incorporated into the new car including a series of modifications as highlighted above.

We do not attempt to pass off as original factory adaptations at Byrnes Motor Trust Restoration; we simply manufacture our cars in the same manner and to the same high standards that the factory was prized for. Almost as important is the knowledge that we do not modify donor cars but rather undertake 100% nut and bolt restorations of each car and make them every bit as good as the were the day they rolled out of Crewe.

Signature Byrnes