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Western Australia is not regarded as a world-centre of motor book publishing but a new book launched in 2009 breaks the mould.

One of the world’s most important vintage Bentley motor cars is located in Perth and a new book celebrating the car’s history which began in 1919 was launched at the BDC’s 90th anniversary celebrations at Supreme Court Gardens December 4, 2009.

The book was produced in Western Australia and is being marketed globally.  The publisher, Astuto Pty Ltd, has previously produced eight titles on WA motoring history but this if the first book produced for the international market.

Entitled “Chassis 141 The Story of the First Le Mans Bentley” it tells the story of the first British entry in the famed Le Mans 24 Hour Race back in 1923.

This is the origin of one of the most legendary teams in motorsport history -- the “Bentley Boys” – a group of wealthy playboys who drove Bentley racing cars in major events across Europe.

The book was written by the foremost expert on early Bentley motor cars Dr Clare Hay who lives in the United Kingdom and Perth motoring historian Graeme Cocks.  Mr Cocks also edited and designed the book. It was produced with the support of Australian car collector Peter Briggs who owns the actual car which raced back in 1923, and features an experimental Bentley engine made in 1919.

The book’s international launch was at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance at Monterey in California in August.  Pebble Beach is regarded as the world’s most important classic car show and the book was well received by the discriminating audience.

MrBriggs said that the book is appealing as it chronicles the story of the people and the car back in the 1920s and then traces it right through to its discovery in a barn in the 1980s, then how the car was shipped to Australia and he totally restored the car with the help of John Hunting in Perth.

“We wanted this book to appeal to historians and enthusiasts who would be interested to see how such a famous car is restored from start to finish – few books are prepared to show cars covered in rust – usually they just show the end results which are always absolutely pristine,” Mr Briggs said.

“As one of the World’s most valuable cars, we wanted to make sure that the book did justice to its historic significance and the research which went into its restoration.

 “I am proud that a book of this quality has been produced in Western Australia for a worldwide market,” said Mr Briggs.

Already the book has become part of the libraries of several motoring identities including the chairman of Bentley Motors Franz-Josef Paefgen, British racing car driver Stirling Moss and American talk show host and motoring enthusiast Jay Leno.

Chassis 141 The Story of the First Le Mans Bentley has been produced in two editions – a deluxe leather case edition which has been limited to 200 copies and a hardcover edition. 

It is available at

To view Graeme Cocks Profile click here.