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Bonar’s Vintage

Blair Bonar-Campbell and business partner Kris Jacobson (both of Edinburgh) have together created Bonar’s Vintage to provide a unique and bespoke service designed for the historic automobile enthusiast.

The new company has a very special vintage Rolls-Royce available for hire for special occasions, sightseeing trips and tours, including of course Cognoscenti events and the partners hope to add another Rolls to the fleet soon.

The cars is ‘Ermintrude’, a 1922 40/50 HP, the iconic model better known as the ‘Silver Ghost’.

Ermintrude has carried a Barker Torpedo body from new and was named after the stubborn cow from the children’s TV program Magic Roundabout on account of her having a similar character…

The Silver Ghost was ordered by supermarket magnate John Sainsbury in 1921 and was completed on the 25th November 1922 with chassis no. 27RG and registered TS 3714. The dashboard still carries the same 1922 old penny requested by John to remind him of his exploits in business.

In 1923 Ermintrude was then exhibited by Rolls-Royce on their stand at the Olympia show, but little is known about the car between the late 1920’s and 1954 as the documents were destroyed in the blitz. Although not yet verified, it’s rumoured she was owned by a wealthy Indian – Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji, Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar. The Maharaja was also known as Ranji and was one of the world’s greatest cricket players before becoming ruler of his native state in India. Ranji owned eight Rolls-Royces within his fleet of 450 cars!

What is known is that the car was a seasoned traveller having left the Britain several times before being acquired by renowned Rolls-Royce enthusiast and collector Charles Howard, who then commissioned an engine rebuild by Kenneth Gormly of Barleymow Engineering using original parts.

A spell in the United States followed under the ownership of a senior executive of the Ford Motor Company before returning once again to the UK. In September 1975 Blair’s grandfather, Ron Bonar of Dundee purchased Ermintrude and then travelled the world with her, visiting South Africa, America and Scandinavia. The Bonar family were wealthy Jute manufacturers and philanthropists, owning numerous mills in Dundee. Cars were Ron’s passion but his parents frowned upon his expensive tastes. His first car was a Lagonda from which he would occasionally remove and sell parts in order to fund his courtship of Blair’s grandmother!

Ron and Ermintrude raised money for charities by taking part in numerous tours such as the 1933 Austrian Alpine Trial Celebration Tour, and in 1995 Ron fulfilled a lifelong dream by driving the length of the 3500-mile Oregon Trail. Immediately afterwards the Silver Ghost won second place in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance despite being filthy after its drive across the States. Ermintrude also achieved a second place position at the Louis Vuitton Concours d’Elegance in the 1990’s along with multiple first-place awards at prestigious national events.

Blair Bonar-Campbell is Ron’s eldest grandchild and inherited the Silver Ghost on his grandfathers death in 2000. During his tenure Blair has carried out minor restoration of the leather and woodwork in between driving and enjoying the car. A friend of Ron’s designed and fabricated an exterior power steering unit which is still on the  car today.

Ermintrude is a big old girl at 22ft long and took about fifty turns of the wheel to turn her around on Edinburgh’s George Street – causing a traffic jam in the process. It’s a good job Bonar’s Vintage only offers chauffeur-drive as Blair says; its like trying to drive a Rhino’.

Clearly Blair has inherited his grandfather’s passion for exquisite cars, exemplified by his dream car, a Bugatti Type 57C Vanvooren Cabriolet.

Bonar’s Vintage clients are welcome to participate in Cognoscenti events.

For more information about Bonar’s Vintage contact us here for details: enquiries@the-cognoscenti.com