Hotel give guests a VIP experience in a £150,000 James Bond car
PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 07:50 07 September 2019
When you call a cab at the Maids Head hotel in Norwich you might be in for a surprise. That's because the hotel has a rare 1950 Bentley Mark VI convertible to take guests for a spin.
The classic car, believed to be a rare model, was bought by the hotel at auction for around £150,000 for use to give guests a VIP experience.
And for James Bond fans, this particular Bentley is renowned for being bought by the dapper agent 007 after his first one is destroyed, at the end of Ian Fleming's novel Moonraker.
Driven by chauffeur Dave Currums, the Bentley will take guests for a whistle-stop tour of Norwich or drop them off or collect them from the station or local airport. Or, if couples are getting married at the hotel they can also use the car for photos.
The car is actually the second to be bought by the hotel, adding to a 1963 Bentley S3 which was bought earlier this year. This car was renowned at the time for its individual seats for front passengers and increased legroom.
Georgina Postlethwaite, sales manager at the Maids Head, said the cars, which are provided at no extra charge, were all part of the hotel's aim to enhance the customer experience.
"We are in a competitive market and guests really enjoy the extra value. We also have an agreement with the cathedral that we can take guests through the Ethelbert Gate and out of the Erpingham Gate which is quite special as well.
"Wedding couples really like having their photos taken down at Pull's Ferry or up on Kett's Heights, with the view of Norwich behind them. It's a rare shot."
The latest car was bought from the Imperial War Museum in Duxford. It's a left hand drive, and models were made between 1947-1952. It features an unusual bodywork by Rolls-Royce's in-house coach builder at the time, Park Ward. It represented the evolution of car manufacture by Rolls-Royce post war, the Mark VI being a 90mph car with leather upholstery and a walnut dashboard. The coach-built body was a preferred option to the standard steel one.
Rolls-Royce bought Bentley in 1931 and in 1998 BMW bought the Rolls-Royce name.
The Bentley state limousine was created for the Queen to celebrate her Golden jubilee. Two exist, kept in the Royal Mews. These were custom-built, one with hinged doors to allow the Queen to stand up straight before getting out.