Meet the BD Monte team: Will and Roger Twelvetrees

We are proud to introduce another Blue Diamond Monte team Will and Roger Twelvetrees. Both are first timers on the Monte, but old hands at vintage car events. Will and Roger will be competing in the 1933 Riley 9 Monaco. The duo currently own 7 Rileys between them, 3 of which are running, 1 which is close to running, and 3 which are long-term projects.  No strangers to the rally world, the Twelvetrees have competed together on many VSCC rallies over the years, including winning several class awards on the Measham night rally.

Roger acquired his first Riley, a 1934 six cylinder Kestrel, from behind a local petrol station for just a few pounds in the late 60s.  He still owns that car and has been involved in the world of Rileys and the Riley Register ever since, including racing his self-built 1931 9hp special with the VSCC during the mid 1980s.  Roger is a retired Chartered Electrical and Electronics engineer having led a busy career based largely in naval defense magnetics and electronic systems.

Will grew up surrounded by Rileys and other vintage cars and machinery and consequently became obsessed at a young age, leading to a career as a Mechanical Engineering Design Consultant and Chartered Mechanical Engineer.  At the age of 17, Will learned to drive in Roger’s 1931 9hp special and always had the ambition to own his own Riley.  This ambition came to fruition in 2004 when he acquired the 1933 Monaco with which the pair will be taking part in the Monte Carlo Classique.


 The Car

The 1933 Riley 9 Monaco was acquired partially dismantled in 2004 from long-term dry storage in Staffordshire.  The car had been off the road since at least the early 1960s.  It was well preserved in many ways but the bulkhead internal structure and dashboard were missing, which meant it was at great risk of being broken up for a special on the open market.  Will rescued it and spent the following 9 years piecing it back together on a very tight budget at his homes in Staffordshire, Lancashire, and finally now Lincolnshire.  The car has been entirely rebuilt mechanically but still largely wears its original 85-year-old paint.  It was when the need to research its history arose, to retain the original registration number TL 2801, that some interesting (if loose) links to the Monte Carlo Rally were found.  The car was delivered new by W P Maidens, via his premises on Southgate in Sleaford. Coincidentally, just 7 miles from where Will and the car now live.

Maidens competed in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1934 and 1935 using Rileys- and possibly with some support from the works.  In 1934, he used a ’33 model 12/6 Kestrel registered TL 3005, and in 1935, a very new 12/4 Falcon registered TL 4000.  Unfortunately, to our knowledge, neither of his original Rally cars survive.  TL 3005 was featured in the Light Car Magazine’s report on the Rally in 1934 and TL 4000 was photographed with the works entries outside the Prince’s palace in Monte Carlo in 1935. He finished well up the order on both occasions, and was clearly quite a local character.  He was well known in Rallying circles in the pre-war period.

More to come on Will and Roger’s Monte adventure..