Cockwells Meets Bentley
October 6, 2020 Bentley Drivers’ Club Magazine: When two worlds collide

There’s a significant synergy between the detailed techniques used to construct classic Bentleys and classic boats, as Dave Cockwell explains to Jilly Easterby. Images: Courtesy of Greg Dennis, Andrew Wright and The Really Good Media Company

Dave Cockwell is no stranger to restoring old and beautiful things. From his eponymous boatyard in Cornwall, utilising the time-honoured skills of the artisan shipwright he has honed over decades, the BDC Member has overseen the restoration of a fleet of classic vessels – most recently, the courageous Dunkirk Little Ship, Fleury II.


However, his love of breathing new life into old bones has recently taken a different turn with his purchase of an R Type Saloon, which he plans to transform into a Touring Special that will catch eyes and turn heads – not unlike the customised motor launches and ultra-luxurious superyacht tenders that he designs and builds for customers across the globe.


“I like things that are well made by people – designed by people – without computers,” explained Dave. “Even though we work with computers in the marine industry, the best design always comes down to a couple of humans figuring out how things should work.


“As someone who is passionate about boats, I am generally unimpressed by cars – but Bentleys are the exception. “I had been looking for an R Type that was beyond economic restoration in terms of its bodywork but sound in relation to its basic mechanics for a few years and one popped up at the right sort of price. I bought it unseen from Ghost Motors in Sevenoaks (the car was previously owned by BDC Member Peter Rumley) and before heading off to collect it, the dealer stopped me in my tracks and suggested that I drive her home.”


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