Part one of our series delving into the history of the glorious pieces nestled inside Bowcliffe’s Drivers’ Club proved such a hit that we wanted to get on and tell the stories of another four pieces from this exquisite shrine to all things automotive. This month, enjoy the history surrounding the striking Spirit of Ecstasy, the winged light fittings, specially commissioned hidden radiator grills and the inspiration behind the Drivers’ Club logo.
Spirit of Ecstasy
The ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’, otherwise known as ‘Emily’, ‘Silver Lady’ or ‘Flying Lady’ is the instantly recognisable bonnet ornament set upon Rolls Royce cars. Jonathan picked up the Drivers’ Club Spirit of Ecstasy from a London antiques shop at the same time he purchased the large Jaguar we mentioned in the first Drivers’ Club blog.
The striking ornament, which shows the form of a woman leaning forwards with her arms outstretched behind and above her, with billowing cloth running from her arms to her back resembling wings, is set upon a specially commissioned radiator cover. Jonathon commissioned the cover to look like exactly like the front grill of a Rolls Royce, so when looking at it from afar, the whole thing looks like a Rolls Royce front. Look out for this clever design next time you’re visiting the Drivers’ Club.
Briefing Room Winged Light
Originally Jonathan intended to have chandeliers lighting up the striking Drivers’ Club – believing they would be in keeping and appropriate, linking the room to the look and feel of Bowcliffe Hall. However, during the project, Jonathan decided that chandeliers would be both too predictable and lacking in the flair and automotive detail he wished every corner of the Drivers’ Club to have. With that in mind, he commissioned a bespoke light design, based around the wings used on the old Aston Martin logo and the Bentley logo we see today.
Radiator Grills on each table in the Drivers’ Club
Next time you’re visiting the Drivers’ Club, be sure to look under the table! Each one has a different marque engraved underneath on a metal plate – you’ll notice Bentley, Aston Martin, and Riley to name but a few. Originally, Jonathan intended to have the names engraved on the top of each table, but during the project he decided it would be a little too obvious and took the decision to install them underneath instead. Jonathan commissioned local company Rock & Bone to create these beautiful, subtle radiator grills. Yet another minute detail that adds to the Drivers’ Club’s compelling interior.
The Drivers’ Club logo
The instantly recognizable Drivers’ Club logo takes it’s inspiration from the steering wheel of a D type Jaguar. Passionate about Jaguars, D types have a special place in Jonathan’s heart and he’s lucky enough to have owned both a long nose and short nose D type.
In 2012 Jonathan took part in a Top Gear style ‘Great Train Race’ where he raced a D type long nose Jag against the Orient Express – all the way to Venice. This sort of race was typical of the 1920’s and 1930’s, going by the name of The Blue Train Races. These were a series of record-breaking attempts between automobiles and trains and saw a number of motorists and their own or sponsored automobiles race against the Le Train Bleu, a train that ran between Calais and the French Riviera. One of Jonathan’s heroes, Bentley Boy, Woolf Barnato carried out one of these ‘Blue Train Races’ in 1930.
You can watch Pt.1 of the race, and see the car that inspired the finished Drivers’ Club logo, here.