• Handlye Special Rolls-Royce
    Handlye Special Rolls-Royce

    From a Rolls-Royce Handlye Special to a Spitfire and a high-tech speedboat: Salute to Style gathers the many applications of the original Merlin engine, a piece of British history and engineering

  • Power and beauty on the road, water and in the air

The Capital’s bijoux summer party, Salute to Style at The Hurlingham Club, presents a trio of displays that share the same historic powerplant to propel them on air, road and water.

A hand-built Handlye Special Rolls-Royce, sporting the 27-litre Merlin engine originally fitted to a Hawker Hurricane during WWII joins a hand-built unique Spitfire aircraft, created using original parts from other Spitfire planes and based on copies of the original Spitfire drawings from the archives of the RAF Museum, Hendon.

Both car and aircraft are going to be displayed alongside an original Merlin engine and a newly-produced model of the Aeroboat super-yacht created by powerboat design studio Claydon Reeves, which is to be powered by the famous Rolls-Royce V12 engine.

The Rolls-Royce is a Phantom II whose chassis carries the thunderous Merlin engine, and it is usually heard before it is seen in its natural habitat, whether at Brooklands, Dunsfold or on a driving holiday to France. It is the product of over 25 years of painstaking hand-building by its owner, Robin Beech, at his Handlye Farm workshop – hence the name. Two engines were purchased in 1985, a Merlin 3 and a Meteor Mk1: it took Robin Beech two years to create one functioning engine out of the two, for “fast road competition” purposes. The next 23 years were spent building the car.

The Handlye Special has two gearboxes, one of which was made for the Merlin Meteor engine by famous engine builder Paul Jamieson. The all-alloy body was hand-made by Alan Jenner of Hastings Motor Sheet Metal, who effectively came out of retirement in order to preside over the project.

In its current configuration, the Rolls-Royce produces about 900bhp with 1550lb ft torque and has a fuel consumption of three miles per gallon. “However, when we are careful, we can stretch to four,” laughs Robin Beech.

The immortal lines of the famous Spitfire fighter also grace The Hurlingham Club’s grounds during Salute to Style, as a reminder of one of the most iconic British aero-engineering designs of all time. Built from original parts over twenty years, the static display belongs to Terry Arlow of Simply Spitfire’, and is inspired by the original MK805 produced by Vickers Armstrong in 1944. Those same lines are echoed in the stern and tail of the Aeroboat model which is also displayed at Salute to Style, though the futuristic speedboat’s main materials are carbon-fibre and Kevlar instead of aluminium. Both aircraft and boat have the same heart, the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.

As the lynchpin connecting prestigious automotive, nautical and aircraft machinery, the Merlin engine brings design and speed to Salute to Style, blending history with cutting edge technology.


For more information about the event and ticket sales: or contact:

Angie Voluti
The Studio
194a Upper Richmond Road West,
London, SW14 8AN
Tel. 00 44 (0) 203 632 5924
Mob. 00 44 (0) 7415 095 543
Joanne Jones
The Hurlingham Club,
Ranelagh Gardens,
Tel:  020 7610 7516

Note to Editors:

The Hurlingham Club is recognised throughout the world as one of Britain’s greatest private members’ clubs. Bordering the Thames in Fulham and set in 42 acres of magnificent grounds, it retains its quintessentially English tradition and heritage, whilst providing modern facilities and services for its members. The best and most exclusive summer parties in the country have, historically, been held at The Hurlingham Club, whose name is forever linked to the famous Louis Vuitton Concours d’Élégance held there in the Nineties.

Claydon Reevesis a design studio with over 35 years’ of combined experience in the super-yacht industry; they create unique and progressive designs through a tailored and flexible approach, aiming to design and develop yachts that endure far into the future. For more information, log on

Simply Spitfirehas the one and only hand-built unique full size Spitfire aircraft Mk IX which they hire for special occasions and static display. Owner Terry Arlow took over 20 years to complete the project, which is based on original drawings from the archives of the RAF Museum, Hendon; the aircraft is made of original parts from other Spitfires.

Salute to Style is the newest London-based prestigious summer garden party, sponsored by John D Wood & Co. 

The Capital’s leading specialists in residential property, John D Wood & Co. has been selling residential property since 1872 and has seventeen London offices, six country offices and consultants in Sussex, Hampshire and Hertfordshire.  Its range of services include residential sales and lettings in London and the country; land and new homes advice; agricultural sales, acquisitions and estate management; valuations for all purposes; a full surveying service and advice on leasehold enfranchisement and freehold acquisition from its London property surveyors.

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