A classic Rolls-Royce acquired by a founder member of the nightclub Annabel’s by slipping a cheque under the door of its indecisive owner and driving off with it is to go on sale on Friday.
The 1932 Close Coupled Coupe was owned by Peter Blond, a gentleman racer of the 1950s who went on to become a Lancashire textiles magnate and then a classic car expert.
Mr Blond died last year and the coupe, along with two other classic Rolls-Royces and a Bentley that formed his private collection, is to be auctioned at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex on Friday.
The former race driver acquired the Rolls-Royce in question in the 1970s when its previous owner couldn’t decide on whether to sell it and Mr Blond simply loaded it on to a trailer and drove off, leaving behind a cheque.
As he told the story: “It happened quite by chance: I went to buy tools for my Bentley and got into discussion with this chap about buying his Rolls-Royce, but he couldn't make up his mind.
“In the end, I went with a trailer and Bill Snook (who looked after all my cars), picked up the car from outside his door, and slipped a cheque under his door for a bit more than he had said. I gave him a ring later in the day, and told him what I had done – he was quite all right about it. It needed a lot of work to restore it.”
During the post-war racing boom, Mr Blond was a frequent competitor including at Le Mans and the Nürburgring, becoming known for driving a red Jaguar D-Type that he bought from the future Formula 1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone.
His sole race win came against the future F1 world champion Graham Hill at Brands Hatch when Hill spun out of contention late in the day.
He was a school friend at Eton, with Alan Clark, the Tory MP and diarist and became a founder member of the private club Annabel’s in 1963.
The 1932 Close Coupled Coupe has an estimated value of £85,000 to £115,000. Also up for auction are a 1923 Rolls-Royce Barrel-sided Tourer, a 1933 Phantom II Continental Sports Coupé, and a 1936 Bentley 4¼ litre All Weather Sports Tourer.