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Bennett Winch SC Holdall

The Man Who Supercharged Bond

14 September, 2009

The extraordinary story of Charles Amherst Villiers
By Paul Kenny

The remarkable Charles Amherst Villiers played a key role in pre-war British motor sport, designed Malcolm Campbells first land speed record-breaking Bluebird, did the initial design drawings for Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, spent 20 years on the US space programme, and painted portraits so fine that his work was on display in Londons National Portrait Gallery. And this brilliant maverick could have achieved even more had he been as good with people as he was with engines. This book details the long and fascinating life of Amherst Villiers. A cousin of Winston Churchill and born into the British aristocracy, Villiers first came to prominence by supercharging the Blower Bentley that did battle with Mercedes at Le Mans. The author explains why Villiers supercharger sticks proudly beyond the radiator, why he sued Bentley, and how a car that never won a race of significance has become one of the most desirable classics of all time.

Malcolm Campbells first land speed record-breaking Bluebird was designed by Villiers but he walked away from the project before the record was clinched - this book explains why. A switch into aeronautic engineering culminated in a daring design for a six-engine, double-decker, transatlantic aircraft, before Villiers moved to the US to devote himself to rocketry, designing the gyroscope that helped win his company contracts for Poseidon and Polaris, and advising on the optimal route for Man to journey to Mars.

The Bond Link
This remarkable Renaissance Man was also a gifted artist, studying under portrait painter Pietro Annigoni in Florence, and painting subjects as varied as Pope John Paul II, racing driver Graham Hill and James Bond writer Ian Fleming.

Indeed, Fleming was so engaged with his friend that 007s only hobby was a Blower Bentley, and Villiers was asked to provide the initial design drawings for Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.

At an age when most men retire, Villiers returned to front-line motor racing, advising on the engine that propelled Graham Hill to his first World Championship. His revolutionary Grand Prix engine design a decade later was only aborted by Hills fatal air accident.

"an authoritative, overdue account of a remarkable man"
Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

Foreword by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978 1 84425 468 2

About the Author
The author, Paul Kenny, has studied the numerous strands of Villiers extraordinary life in exhaustive detail and woven them together into an enthralling tale. Paul Kenny was raised in Cheshire and studied archaeology at Newcastle University. A lifelong motor racing enthusiast, he has written for Motor Sport and lectured at Brooklands. He manages a UK business unit of a Wall Street-quoted corporation, and lives in Teddington, Middlesex, with his wife and three children.

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  The Man Who Supercharged Bond (UK)
  The Man Who Supercharged Bond (USA)

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Connolly x 007