Bentley Drivers Club

Bentley Drivers Club

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WightGT

Original Poster:

149 posts

102 months

Saturday 21st March
quotequote all
Well Done BruceV8.! Judging by your photo you will fit in very well with other BDC members. There seem to be plenty of R Types available so you should find something you like. The BDC also has a Specials group if you fancy turning a Mark VI into something extraordinary.

Unfortunately most BDC social events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, and we are still waiting to hear if our August Silverstone race meeting is going ahead. Somehow I doubt it.
David.

BruceV8

3,325 posts

203 months

Wednesday 8th April
quotequote all
WightGT said:
Well Done BruceV8.! Judging by your photo you will fit in very well with other BDC members.
Why thank you. Too kind.

WightGT said:
There seem to be plenty of R Types available so you should find something you like. The BDC also has a Specials group if you fancy turning a Mark VI into something extraordinary.
I'm such a fan of the pre Shadow cars that I don't think many specials or, indeed, coachbuilt cars improved upon the standard steel cars. Each to their own though.

WightGT said:
Unfortunately most BDC social events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, and we are still waiting to hear if our August Silverstone race meeting is going ahead. Somehow I doubt it.
David.
Yes, terrible timing on my part. "I know", I thought, "I'll join the BDC. Go to some of their summer events". D'oh!

Champagne Charlie

13 posts

4 months

Friday 8th May
quotequote all
First of all bravo for asking the original question. Far too many people moan about lack of support and do nothing about it.

I am the new owner of a 2000 Bentley Arnage Red Label.

At present have decided not to join the Club and I wanted to give you some feedback as to why.

I have listed out several thoughts, not in order of importance but hopefully you will get some information that may assist you. The points below are just my general opinion of course and I don't expect you to leap into action and change everything to suit me. I am just responding to what I thought was a very polite and sensible request for information.

1. The membership fee is a little high perhaps but I don't like the 50 Pound joining fee in particular. Excuse me writing the word for the currency as there is no Pound symbol on my French keypad. I don't understand why there should be an additional joining fee and it may assist you if you could explain to perspective members the reasons and benefits behind this.

2. I don't really have a very good picture from the very limited description on your website as to what I actually get for my money. See point 5 below for more on this.

3. I would be unable to take part in any contact with other members in the form of runs or meetings as I live in the south of France. So that part of the Club is, in effect through no fault of yours, off limits to me.

4. With point 3 in mind it perhaps to me in my individual circumstances reinforces the fact that point 1 is correct in saying that the overseas membership of 158 Pounds including the joining fee is far too expensive.

5. The paragraph on Membership benefits hardly sells the Club with alacrity. I believe that some parts suppliers offer BDC membership discounts and that is not even mentioned. If it is 2.5% it is not particularly exciting, if it is 10% that alone would easily pay for the membership fee but what are these discounts?

6. By far the most interesting part of being a member for me personally would be the Forum. The vast majority of other car Clubs allow at least either a limited view or a full view of the forums to non members. They are of course not allowed to post or reply to topics but that is the whole point and an encouragement to join. The forum can sell the Club for you but with no access to non members it cannot assist you.

To finish may I make a couple of general very opinionated points. It was suggested in the online forum that I read that some people had a view that the Club was rather upper crust or elitist. Well, well done to you. Don't please feel that you should somehow start wearing baseball caps backwards and calling fellow members 'mate'. People are what we are. I am not a 'Toff' but who would not want to be?! My fathers three best friends were a Lord, a Conservative MP and a plumber! It makes all sorts to make a Club and the main interest will always be the cars.

If I might add a little more opinion which you should feel can be rejected as the ravings of a mad man. I would most certainly be proud to wear the Club badge discreetly on a T shirt or jacket but I fear that the enormous badges that you have chosen to adorn your Club wear are a little to large and brash even for me, and believe me, I am no shrinking violet!

I do very much hope that you will not find the above points in any way offensive. They are just an honest response to your Chairman's question. I very much wish you good luck and I hope that the Bentley experience will leave me with a smile rather than a frown.

Enjoy your driving and stay safe and indoors at present.


WightGT

Original Poster:

149 posts

102 months

Monday 11th May
quotequote all
Thank you Charlie for your thought provoking reply. I have forwarded it to our BDC Chairman in the hope that the forum could be partly open to non-members.

We have some 26 members in France (I know it's a big place!) and I know of two members in Monaco and Cap Ferrat. If you join the club you would have access to the membership list, and could see if any were near you.

The £50 joining fee is to cover the cost of processing your entry. Details of you and your car(s) has to be put on our database and you need to be added to the mailing list so that you can receive your monthly magazine (A4 post free to France). It is primarily an administration fee.

The annual subscription is what keeps the club afloat. You get a monthly magazine and the ability to join any Bentley activity around the world. This may be the exclusive use of the Cafe de Paris for the Historic Monaco Grand Prix weekend. It might be a tour of Tasmania with one of our Australian chapters, or a tour of the Bentley factory in Crewe.
A year ago I organised a 10 day tour ending up in Champagne with dinner at Maison Mercier. There is another one planned for next year. There is also a tour of Spain/France planned for 2021 including premium grandstand seats at the Circuit des Ramparts races at Angouleme. So there ought to be something that you could enjoy.

Finally, congratulations on getting an Arnage. A year ago I swapped my Continental GT for an Arnage Continental T Mulliner II. It has taken some while to get accustomed to the change. With advancing age, I found that the GT was more competent than I was, and I fancied a change to a more traditional Bentley. I'm afraid I can't help you with tyre sizes, but a google of Michelin or Goodyear should sort you out quickly.

Did you buy your car knowing that the cylinder head gaskets had been done, or is that a pleasure yet to come?

Keep healthy,
David.

Champagne Charlie

13 posts

4 months

Wednesday 3rd June
quotequote all
WightGT said:
Thank you Charlie for your thought provoking reply. I have forwarded it to our BDC Chairman in the hope that the forum could be partly open to non-members.

We have some 26 members in France (I know it's a big place!) and I know of two members in Monaco and Cap Ferrat. If you join the club you would have access to the membership list, and could see if any were near you.

The £50 joining fee is to cover the cost of processing your entry. Details of you and your car(s) has to be put on our database and you need to be added to the mailing list so that you can receive your monthly magazine (A4 post free to France). It is primarily an administration fee.

The annual subscription is what keeps the club afloat. You get a monthly magazine and the ability to join any Bentley activity around the world. This may be the exclusive use of the Cafe de Paris for the Historic Monaco Grand Prix weekend. It might be a tour of Tasmania with one of our Australian chapters, or a tour of the Bentley factory in Crewe.
A year ago I organised a 10 day tour ending up in Champagne with dinner at Maison Mercier. There is another one planned for next year. There is also a tour of Spain/France planned for 2021 including premium grandstand seats at the Circuit des Ramparts races at Angouleme. So there ought to be something that you could enjoy.

Finally, congratulations on getting an Arnage. A year ago I swapped my Continental GT for an Arnage Continental T Mulliner II. It has taken some while to get accustomed to the change. With advancing age, I found that the GT was more competent than I was, and I fancied a change to a more traditional Bentley. I'm afraid I can't help you with tyre sizes, but a google of Michelin or Goodyear should sort you out quickly.

Did you buy your car knowing that the cylinder head gaskets had been done, or is that a pleasure yet to come?

Keep healthy,
David.
Well David after several warm and fun emails between you and I, I have joined the Club. I will say again that I don't mind the membership fee but HATE the 50 Pound joining fee. Rant over.

Anybody thinking of joining I would say that the magazine is absolutely superb and my first impressions are excellent and I am pleased at my decision.

I commend the Club to anybody considering joining.



Zulu 10

555 posts

194 months

Wednesday 3rd June
quotequote all
Good luck Charlie, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the Club, and be welcomed because you’ve got a proper Bentley.

For those of us who own VW derived product then my recommendation, based on bitter personal experience, is not to bother:

I joined the BDC last year, but having been involved with various car clubs over the past 30 years, I can safely say that I have never felt less welcome.

My expectation had been to find that there was subset within the Club who were technically knowledgable about the Continental GT; desired to be more so, and were able to converse about the CGT in a positive way.

It might have been naive but I expected the same sort of enthusiasm and support that is provided amongst Lotus owners, no matter which generation of car they possess.

Instead I met with antipathy and an attitude that the VW-era Bentley is for owners, not real drivers, and that no one could expect to be able to work on their car, or understand how it works, and instead should have their dealer on speed dial.

Moreover, some of the ignorance displayed, and which continued unchecked, amongst the members about a subject in which I am professionally knowledgable, was simply breathtaking.

I’m not generally a quitter, but it seemed to be a widespread malaise with the Club, and I just couldn’t be bothered to attempt to change their minds, so I walked away.

Some of the stories which I have heard since about BDC members have reinforced my view, which is a great shame for those such as WightGT who is clearly trying to drag the Club in the right direction, but I fear will face excessive inertia.

By my reckoning there have now been some 120,000 VW-era Bentleys produced, so I think that there is an ideal market opportunity for someone to start a new club dedicated solely to the owners of these later cars.

And yes, I have been exploring it...

WightGT

Original Poster:

149 posts

102 months

Thursday 4th June
quotequote all
Good Morning all and particularly Zulu.

First I had a Mulsanne S Mk II, then a Continental GT and now an Arnage T Mulliner stage II. It is true that whilst I had the GT I would attract comments about 'footballers car' or 'hairdressers'. I ignored them and let the car speak for itself. It was, and remains, a prodigious car that is far beyond the ability of most ordinary drivers to get the best out of. My gripe was always that it had too many electronics, and that we needed a Club version with most of the electronic wizardry removed so that a willing owner could do some work on it himself. It would also be helpful to know which VAG listed parts could be applied to the GT without having to pay Bentley prices. I don't need electric windows or central locking, but air conditioning is welcome. Similarly, I don't need sat nav or the trip computer information. Air operated handbrake ? just something else to go wrong. I could go on.

The BDC is very aware that it is under represented among owners of the current generation of cars. We have a number of reasons for this. Being priced at north of £150,000 they are beyond the reach of the younger generation that we would like to attract. We agree that you can buy an early GT for about £20,000 but it is perceived as a potential money pit so attracts little interest. Much of the current production goes to the USA or China and although we have club activities in America, it's a big place to assemble many members. Also, we fear for brand loyalty. Those with the funds to buy a GT may not stick with it for long. They fancy a GT this year, but next year they want an Aston or Ferrari. These people we can't hold onto for the long term.

We are trying to increase activities for GT owners and are supporting GT racing and 'build your own GT racer'. Our Silverstone Race Day in early August could contain a GT race in the programme. We join in Bentley dealer's Open Days by pitching up and letting our members talk to their customers about Bentley ownership. We would like to do more but need guidance from our members about their needs.

Finally, for all those who have an unwelcome experience, may I apologise. Most of our members are tolerant and polite and a good may of our octogenarian members drive GTs. So you ARE welcome - indeed, you are needed.
Stay healthy,
David.


ntiz

1,218 posts

92 months

Thursday 4th June
quotequote all
My father has noticed in more recent years that the new cars are more accepted than they where when he first joined with his GT in 2006.

His one criticism is that all of the events he looks at getting involved in like the driving holidays always seem to be pretty expensive. I think he looked at a French driving trip that was 5 or 6k for the week. Which just seemed a bit over the top, hasn't looked or considered it since.

Obviously these are expensive cars so staying in 1 star accommodation isn't going to fly, but he feels that basically they are geared for a small cliche in the middle of the club running blowers and 6.5s who think nothing blowing sizeable chunks of cash. He has 1924 3 litre he would like to get involved with but doesn't think trips are good value as he has been touring Europe since the late 60s relatively cheaply.

Having said that we have made some good friends through the club and still enjoy it.


Zulu 10

555 posts

194 months

Friday 5th June
quotequote all
WightGT said:
Good Morning all and particularly Zulu.

First I had a Mulsanne S Mk II, then a Continental GT and now an Arnage T Mulliner stage II. It is true that whilst I had the GT I would attract comments about 'footballers car' or 'hairdressers'. I ignored them and let the car speak for itself. It was, and remains, a prodigious car that is far beyond the ability of most ordinary drivers to get the best out of. My gripe was always that it had too many electronics, and that we needed a Club version with most of the electronic wizardry removed so that a willing owner could do some work on it himself. It would also be helpful to know which VAG listed parts could be applied to the GT without having to pay Bentley prices. I don't need electric windows or central locking, but air conditioning is welcome. Similarly, I don't need sat nav or the trip computer information. Air operated handbrake ? just something else to go wrong. I could go on.

The BDC is very aware that it is under represented among owners of the current generation of cars. We have a number of reasons for this. Being priced at north of £150,000 they are beyond the reach of the younger generation that we would like to attract. We agree that you can buy an early GT for about £20,000 but it is perceived as a potential money pit so attracts little interest. Much of the current production goes to the USA or China and although we have club activities in America, it's a big place to assemble many members. Also, we fear for brand loyalty. Those with the funds to buy a GT may not stick with it for long. They fancy a GT this year, but next year they want an Aston or Ferrari. These people we can't hold onto for the long term.

We are trying to increase activities for GT owners and are supporting GT racing and 'build your own GT racer'. Our Silverstone Race Day in early August could contain a GT race in the programme. We join in Bentley dealer's Open Days by pitching up and letting our members talk to their customers about Bentley ownership. We would like to do more but need guidance from our members about their needs.

Finally, for all those who have an unwelcome experience, may I apologise. Most of our members are tolerant and polite and a good may of our octogenarian members drive GTs. So you ARE welcome - indeed, you are needed.
Stay healthy,
David.
Thank you for that balanced response David, and I agree with many of your points, and to expand on them:

To correlate Bentley parts with the remainder of the VW range is a lot easier if one has a copy of IETIS – the combined Bentley workshop manual and illustrated parts catalogue – that is freely available on the web. My local VW dealer is only to happy to sell me factory parts knowing full well where they’re destined.

The same is true for diagnostics: there are plenty of inexpensive ways of accessing VW’s ‘Offboard Diagnostic Information System’ software to interrogate the Continental GT, and it isn’t difficult to use.

Unfortunately where we differ is your “...it had too many electronics...” comment, which is I think symptomatic of everything that is wrong with the BDC:

I’m not referring to the modern penchant for an “automated feature to steer me to the nearest Waitrose”, which is I agree fatuous, but to criticise the presence of electric windows, central locking or SatNav smacks of an attitude for which Ned Ludd was (in)famous.

As well as attracting the late-model buyers, who might I agree be fickle in their brand loyalty, surely the BDC should be trying to support the potential for the younger owner of the older car, who instead of dismissing it as a money pit, “which attracts little interest”, can be encouraged in to the fold with encouragement of what can be achieved outside the main dealer network.

That surely should be the underpinning of your GT racer series, which will otherwise end up being populated by ‘gentlemen drivers’ who turn up with a car run for them by a professional entrant, yet again reinforcing the perceived barrier to entry that you claim to be trying to break down.

Finally I respect your point that most “members are tolerant and polite”, and its a shame that those who are not, do not get censured by the rest.


Edited by Zulu 10 on Friday 5th June 08:42

Zulu 10

555 posts

194 months

Friday 5th June
quotequote all
ntiz said:
My father has noticed in more recent years that the new cars are more accepted than they where when he first joined with his GT in 2006.

His one criticism is that all of the events he looks at getting involved in like the driving holidays always seem to be pretty expensive. I think he looked at a French driving trip that was 5 or 6k for the week. Which just seemed a bit over the top, hasn't looked or considered it since.

Obviously these are expensive cars so staying in 1 star accommodation isn't going to fly, but he feels that basically they are geared for a small cliche in the middle of the club running blowers and 6.5s who think nothing blowing sizeable chunks of cash. He has 1924 3 litre he would like to get involved with but doesn't think trips are good value as he has been touring Europe since the late 60s relatively cheaply.

Having said that we have made some good friends through the club and still enjoy it.
The issue of the cost of tours is a thorny one.

As someone who has previously been (very) peripherally involved in the planning, organising and promoting of tours, I can sympathise with both sides.

The advent of the Internet has meant that anyone can look up hotels, check their reviews, and book their own.

Similarly they can search the web for great driving roads in their chosen area. They can then build the daily routes into their Sat Nav.

Also, given enough time, they can research things to do and places to see en route.

They do this and then compare the hotel costs with the price of a tour and complain about the difference.

What the tour organiser has to do is all of the above, and then also recce the route, check each hotel, look at attractions etc, all speculatively, i.e. before selling a single place on a tour.

And believe me, they don’t do the recce in season when the sun’s out, because it’s expensive; instead they do it out of season, to minimise cost.

During the tour itself the tour guide has to put up with all sorts of trivial matters arising, all with a smile, but woe betide being seen to enjoy a glass of wine with their supper.

The tour operator also knows that having done a tour, their customers are free to share the road book with their chums, so one’s hard-earned intellectual property is uncontrolled.

It’s for these reasons that I can understand why the higher end tours cost what they do, but a little research can turn up alternatives that cost less, but possible lack some of the finesse.

bqf

1,839 posts

127 months

Friday 5th June
quotequote all
Interesting post this one, genuinely good to read.

I've been a member of 2 'single marque' car clubs over the years - Porsche and Ferrari. Good and bad in both. Porsche have an excellent club magazine, well worth reading - whereas the FoC magazine is quite dull, imo. Ferrari events in my area though were very good - we had a memorable afternoon with John Surtees I fondly remember.

In fairness though, what puts me off car clubs generally is the people are, by and large, in my opinion, and in my personal experience, utterly ghastly. hehe

They are either incredibly snobby about either themselves, their cars, how you present your car, 'lesser models' (god help you if you turn up to a Ferrari event in a Mondial), or are simply very 'cliquey'.

No idea whether or not the BDC is the same - but for £160 to join, I'm not keen to find out. hehe

So

18,658 posts

178 months

Friday 5th June
quotequote all

I am not a BDC member and don't own a Bentley. But I emailed them earlier about a car and got an informed response within an hour. Quite impressive.

bish_345

25 posts

26 months

Wednesday 10th June
quotequote all
bqf said:
Interesting post this one, genuinely good to read.

I've been a member of 2 'single marque' car clubs over the years - Porsche and Ferrari. Good and bad in both. Porsche have an excellent club magazine, well worth reading - whereas the FoC magazine is quite dull, imo. Ferrari events in my area though were very good - we had a memorable afternoon with John Surtees I fondly remember.

In fairness though, what puts me off car clubs generally is the people are, by and large, in my opinion, and in my personal experience, utterly ghastly. hehe

They are either incredibly snobby about either themselves, their cars, how you present your car, 'lesser models' (god help you if you turn up to a Ferrari event in a Mondial), or are simply very 'cliquey'.

No idea whether or not the BDC is the same - but for £160 to join, I'm not keen to find out. hehe
I am currently a member of 6 "single marque" clubs and feel that "the people are, by and large....utterly ghastly" is a bit harsh. All clubs, whether automotive or not, will have their fair share of tossers and cliques but I am willing to look past them. I believe the existence of single marque clubs is, at the end of the day, a net plus for car enthusiasts, not least because they can serve as a repository of a great deal of collective knowledge which could easily get lost. Indeed, three of the clubs to which I belong are for marques which no longer exist and the clubs are one of the few sources of useful information. I am prepared to support them since without paying members they would, of course, disappear. If they did disappear, to be replaced solely by impersonal internet forums, I feel something would have been lost. And yes, the BDC is one of them.

Saweep

5,200 posts

142 months

Wednesday 10th June
quotequote all
The BDC is on borrowed time.

They've been told. They don't care.

So

18,658 posts

178 months

Thursday 11th June
quotequote all
Saweep said:
The BDC is on borrowed time.

They've been told. They don't care.
Why and by whom?

But God bless them, I emailed them a question last week and they responded immediately with and answer. They emailed me again on Monday with a more in depth answer.

WightGT

Original Poster:

149 posts

102 months

Thursday 11th June
quotequote all
Good Morning to you all, and particularly Saweep,

This thread has been running for some time and the contributions to it have mostly been constructive and polite. This is an attitude that most BDC members would expect. It is quite clear that the contributors and the BDC acknowledge the problem of an aging membership, (very) expensive cars, perceived snobbery and not engaging with owners of modern cars. What we are less clear about is what the BDC can do about it - I can assure you that it is trying hard.

If Saweep feels that we are doomed, perhaps it would help if he could tell us why - we might be able to do something about it. Specially if it is something that has so far not been identified in this thread.

Pink trousers on today because I am taking the Arnage out for a short run to keep things in order. I am not going to Barnard Castle.
David.

Purso

679 posts

58 months

Thursday 11th June
quotequote all
From the outside, it looks like reducing the entry fee (although this will make each member less valuable it could still increase total revenue) and investing in the forum would be 2 ways of addressing the most frequent concerns.

Also making senior members of the bdc active on forums as you have has definitely helped raise awareness and contributed to a positive impression about the club!

So

18,658 posts

178 months

Thursday 11th June
quotequote all

Just a thought: Could BDC incentivise PH to split Rolls Royce and Bentley into separate sub-fora and then get a BDC sticky at the top?

On the subject of being a member of a marque car club though: It makes me cringe a bit, if i am being honest.

I have, in the past, visited the Porsche Owners Club stand at car shows and watched owners dashing around their cars with a microfibre cloth wiping off raindrops as they fall and otherwise rapping utter nonsense about their cars. It's utterly, toe-curlingly, naff to my mind. But if it floats anyone else's boat who am I to stop them?


Saweep

5,200 posts

142 months

Thursday 11th June
quotequote all
WightGT said:
Good Morning to you all, and particularly Saweep,

This thread has been running for some time and the contributions to it have mostly been constructive and polite. This is an attitude that most BDC members would expect. It is quite clear that the contributors and the BDC acknowledge the problem of an aging membership, (very) expensive cars, perceived snobbery and not engaging with owners of modern cars. What we are less clear about is what the BDC can do about it - I can assure you that it is trying hard.

If Saweep feels that we are doomed, perhaps it would help if he could tell us why - we might be able to do something about it. Specially if it is something that has so far not been identified in this thread.

Pink trousers on today because I am taking the Arnage out for a short run to keep things in order. I am not going to Barnard Castle.
David.
Re-reading my post, it sure does come across worse than I intended. I apologise. It just frustrates me. biggrin

The truth is that the member base will mostly be dead in a decade. The true members, the ones that make the club work. The rest are just window dressing that will fall away when those old timers that get st done pass on.

The image and atmosphere at almost every event is "old and boring". I've been to all of them, many times. The only solution to me is to get very drunk as early as possible!

I have said it before to anyone who will listen that younger, New Bentley buyers like myself don't have time on a Wednesday afternoon to be sitting in a pub having a chat about cars made 50 years before we were born. Even if we did we wouldn't want to do it.

We also don't want to go on a leisurely group drive across Europe staying at old people's hotels and pretending we are living in the 1920s.

There will be a few standout younger members that will be well known, I'm sure. But I've always found those people to be very weird, to be honest.

The BDC should have a younger chapter that more resembles a business networking club. It needs to be glamorous. Bentley Motors themselves do a pretty good job of this to be honest; I've been to a handful of events put on by them; I would swap one for for every BDC thing I've attended combined.

I don't think it would be that difficult to achieve; the cross brand promotion opportunities would be incredible. There are so many businesses that would die to get into the same room as 50 Under 50s who could afford to drive a Bentley. The older members may have the assets and be "rich" but it is the younger drivers that have the cash flow, and spend it, on the whole!

I would repurpose all those staffing expenses into sales and event management salaries. Actively looking to grow the club. To me, membership is just a tank of fuel...give me one good reason to join and bam, there's another member (if I wasn't already a member...think I am haha). The oldies will be renewing anyway, always and forever.

Many of the dealers themselves choose not to be too involved with the club and they're pretty open about why...the club members rarely buy cars from them.

Ferrari do a much better job of this...sit in the atelier room at any dealership and the FOC materials are all there; they encourage membership. I joined the FOC for the lanyard and the magazine, which is readable. I never went to a meeting though as I didn't want to sit in a pub talking to Bob from Sunderland about his 348 that only comes out when the weather is above 24.

My generation just simply don't "get" car clubs in their current guise in significant enough numbers to sustain the sort of cost base the BDC requires each year.

The magazine is terrible content wise, despite being printed on beautiful paper etc. I believe there is a full time editor on significant wages? He's not very good. I could knock that magazine up on Word and make the layouts more interesting and the articles more compelling in a quarter of the time this guy has to do his job. The design language is 1980s. Every edition I pick it up and leaf through and put it down ten seconds later. The most enjoyable part is feeling the heft of the thing and smelling the delicious expensive paper!

Gosh I could knock up a list of 100 more interesting articles than I ever see in the next hour...

Everyone I've ever met who is a member of the BDC is a very nice person by the way; this isn't a critique of the people involved.

So

18,658 posts

178 months

Thursday 11th June
quotequote all
Saweep said:
WightGT said:
Good Morning to you all, and particularly Saweep,

This thread has been running for some time and the contributions to it have mostly been constructive and polite. This is an attitude that most BDC members would expect. It is quite clear that the contributors and the BDC acknowledge the problem of an aging membership, (very) expensive cars, perceived snobbery and not engaging with owners of modern cars. What we are less clear about is what the BDC can do about it - I can assure you that it is trying hard.

If Saweep feels that we are doomed, perhaps it would help if he could tell us why - we might be able to do something about it. Specially if it is something that has so far not been identified in this thread.

Pink trousers on today because I am taking the Arnage out for a short run to keep things in order. I am not going to Barnard Castle.
David.
Re-reading my post, it sure does come across worse than I intended. I apologise. It just frustrates me. biggrin

The truth is that the member base will mostly be dead in a decade. The true members, the ones that make the club work. The rest are just window dressing that will fall away when those old timers that get st done pass on.

The image and atmosphere at almost every event is "old and boring". I've been to all of them, many times. The only solution to me is to get very drunk as early as possible!

I have said it before to anyone who will listen that younger, New Bentley buyers like myself don't have time on a Wednesday afternoon to be sitting in a pub having a chat about cars made 50 years before we were born. Even if we did we wouldn't want to do it.

We also don't want to go on a leisurely group drive across Europe staying at old people's hotels and pretending we are living in the 1920s.

There will be a few standout younger members that will be well known, I'm sure. But I've always found those people to be very weird, to be honest.

The BDC should have a younger chapter that more resembles a business networking club. It needs to be glamorous. Bentley Motors themselves do a pretty good job of this to be honest; I've been to a handful of events put on by them; I would swap one for for every BDC thing I've attended combined.

I don't think it would be that difficult to achieve; the cross brand promotion opportunities would be incredible. There are so many businesses that would die to get into the same room as 50 Under 50s who could afford to drive a Bentley. The older members may have the assets and be "rich" but it is the younger drivers that have the cash flow, and spend it, on the whole!

I would repurpose all those staffing expenses into sales and event management salaries. Actively looking to grow the club. To me, membership is just a tank of fuel...give me one good reason to join and bam, there's another member (if I wasn't already a member...think I am haha). The oldies will be renewing anyway, always and forever.

Many of the dealers themselves choose not to be too involved with the club and they're pretty open about why...the club members rarely buy cars from them.

Ferrari do a much better job of this...sit in the atelier room at any dealership and the FOC materials are all there; they encourage membership. I joined the FOC for the lanyard and the magazine, which is readable. I never went to a meeting though as I didn't want to sit in a pub talking to Bob from Sunderland about his 348 that only comes out when the weather is above 24.

My generation just simply don't "get" car clubs in their current guise in significant enough numbers to sustain the sort of cost base the BDC requires each year.

The magazine is terrible content wise, despite being printed on beautiful paper etc. I believe there is a full time editor on significant wages? He's not very good. I could knock that magazine up on Word and make the layouts more interesting and the articles more compelling in a quarter of the time this guy has to do his job. The design language is 1980s. Every edition I pick it up and leaf through and put it down ten seconds later. The most enjoyable part is feeling the heft of the thing and smelling the delicious expensive paper!

Gosh I could knock up a list of 100 more interesting articles than I ever see in the next hour...

Everyone I've ever met who is a member of the BDC is a very nice person by the way; this isn't a critique of the people involved.
So shall we put you down as undecided Mr. Saweep?