The car that started the British Invasion

1947 BENTLEY
Mark-VI, HJ Mulliner, Saloon
(B366-BH)

This motorcar is a 1947 Bentley, Mark-VI, HJ Mulliner, Saloon (B366-BH), owned by Michael F.Gaetano of Hopkinton, MA. This Bentley is a three time "1st Place Concours Winner" with the Rolls-Royce Owners' Club". It received a class award at the Pebble Beach Concours. It has won both Junior & Senior Awards in the CCCA and the AACA national competitions. It has won First in Class at the Castle Hill Concours, "Best of Show" at the Museum of Transportation, and "Best of Show" & "1st Senior" at the "Down East All-British Car Show" in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Five time "First of Classics" (per CCCA) at the "Endicott Estate Dedham Car Show", twice "First of Classics" (per CCCA) at the "Hildene Car Show" in Manchester, VT, and several other awards.

B366-BH appeared very briefly in the Alic Baldwin & Kim Bassinger movie: "The Marrying Man".

In early October of 1989 after having won "1st Place" in "Sugurbush Car Show" in Waitsfield, VT, B366-BH took it's owners Michael and Paula, to scenic Stowe, VT, where they first met, for lunch at "Ye Olde England Inne". During lunch, Michael and Chris Francis, proprietor of the Inne, discussed British cars as well as great British food and beverages. You can tell that lunch was well worth the drive from Waitsfield, VT. When Michael & Paula were leaving for the drive back to Boston, Chris suggested that it would be great if they we could bring fellow members of the Rolls-Royce Owners' Club to Stowe, for a special weekend.

By February of 1990, Chris and Michael began to write and phone each other, to discuss the idea of creating a real "British Invasion" right in Stowe, Vermont. Michael developed a database of car club contacts and a calendar of British car shows, and Chris set out to find the ideal location for such an event. Chris, an accomplished Polo player suggested adding British sports to the weekend, and both were off in search of sponsors to make it all possible. Michael made contact with Leslie Kennedy of Armor AllŪ, and a event sponsor was in hand. Soon British Airways, and other British related companies started to show interest. All agreed that the Third Weekend in September was a perfect time in the show car circuit to hold an All-British Car Show in Vermont.

Nestled in a valley, surrounded by scenic mountains in the early stages of fall foliage, and with an immaculate Polo field as a center-piece, the date and location were set for "Invasion I" in the fall of 1991. Event promotion consisted on passing out flyers and registration forms, at every British car meet they could attend in New England. With poster distribution, and with the early full support of "British Marque Car Club News", "British Invasion-I" drew approximately 290 British cars to Stowe for the weekend, all competing in the "British Classic People's Choice Competition". In 1991 Registration was at the office at the "Ye Olde England Inne", where our staff dispensed "Goodie bags" and personalized name badges, and car cards to all the registrants. We managed to completely trash the office and certainly did not win any points with Lyn Francis, as we overran the Inne. Being the grand lady that she is, she some how found the strength to put up with us, as car after car, and group after group arrived.

We held a Cocktail Reception on Friday evening, and a parade of cars through town. Saturday evening we held a buffet dinner for our weekend guests, and Polo was the main event for Sunday. In the years that followed that first Invasion we have seen a British Vampire Jet, an encampment of British colonial troops, the sports of; Rugby, Cricket & Polo, a medieval banquet, dinner dances, English herding dog competitions, helicopter rides, and the growth of the British Auto Jumble, the British Car Corral, The British Marketplace, the addition of a judged Concours d'Elegance strictly for British cars, and the addition of off-road driving displays and competitions. When Leslie Kennedy joined Meguiar's we were delighted to have Meguiar's Products as our primary event sponsor.

Last year over 600 British Cars compete for honors in over 65 separate classes. In addition over 35 exceptional British Show cars participated in the Concours d'Elegance, and another 35-40 cars were available for purchase in the British Car Corral, making British Invasion the Largest all-British motorcar show and lifestyle event in the United States. Over 1/3 of our attendees come from North of the Border in Canada adding the International flavor of the show and presenting some exceptional cars seldom seen in the East Coast show circuit. Michael and Chris, and their wives Paula and Lyn, have become best friends over the years, and the event they created, and continue to develop, has become a recognized leader on the East Coast, and model for others to follow. The unique appeal of the rustic mountain village of Stowe, Vermont in September when an invasion, a British Invasion, that takes over the entire town, filling all the inns and resorts, and the highways & back roads with every make of British car you can imagine, from pre-war to post-war, to current series. Wave after wave of British Cars, and British Car Clubs arrive to enjoy the ambiance that the Invasion, in combination with the village of Stowe creates. So B366-BH, you're a '47 Bentley that started an invasion, A British Invasion. You can be proud of what it has become, and the joy that it brings to British Car enthusiasts, from all across the USA and Canada, and to the merchants and innkeepers of Vermont. Jolly Good!