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The Gentry Register

Owners Club for the Gentry Kit Car

Rebuilding number 1

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Roger Blockley built the first Gentry in 1973. Read about it here.

In 2015 he repurchased that car to undertake a full nut and bolt restoration. In 2017 he told the story of the restoration, along with a few other memories along the way, in a series of posts on our Facebook pages. Enjoy the words of the man that started it all.

17 March 2017

Hello Gentry Register. This is Roger M Blockley.  Here is my prototype RMB Gentry, registered now as BBC 907Y but  formerly FCG 317D. It used to be black but now sports ivory white coachwork after a complete nut and bolt restoration by me after being apart for over 30 years.

18 March 2017

The prototype has had three registrations in its life so far. When I repurchased the Gentry back in 2015 I took the back registration plate off and found the old FCG 317D behind.

The third registration number my gentry had was RMB 9 which is now on my a35 van.

My A35 van has a Ford Escort diesel engine mated to a Triumph 2.5 automatic gearbox. The caravan is made to match the side shape of the van. Construction is all glass fibre apart from the plywood floor on a steel chassis.

Recently on ebay there was a Gentry based on a Spitfire chassis. I can confirm that this Gentry was the first body to fit the Spitfire chassis. I remember the chap lived in Coventry and he delivered his rolling chassis to my works and I made the shorter wheelbase model. He loved it, but I think it lost its true shape so I only made one further shell to fit on a standard Spitfire chassis.

This car was in the girly mag Knave in 1975. The model was quite nice! These photos were from an Italian magazine, Gente Motori. See a translation here.

If you study the RMB badge on the left hand side in 1974 you will see that I painted the MG badge white and then stuck black insulation tape to make RMB. You  can see what a bad job I made of it.

If you study the RMB badge on the left hand side in 1974

The prototype with new weather equipment, now with sliding front sidescreens.

19 March 2017  · 

Many years ago, in the early days, I had the cheek to park the Gentry in between a line of Spartans. How about that then.

19 March 2017  ·  This gentry belongs to Paul Oakes. He made a fantastic car and it is the very last RMB made Gentry kit from late 1989.

20 March 2017  · 

This photo was my uncle’s Gentry which was the 2nd complete car I built and was on an early brochure. The registration number was changed from MAY 997F to 117MAL to reflect his name. I will never forget it because it had black fluffy interior. I tried to talk him out of it but to no avail! 

20 March 2017  · 

This Gentry was built by my dad in 1976. When he died some 15yrs ago I had the sad job of selling his car to one of the gentlemen in the background. There are many photos of the car on google and I think it ended up in Belgium.

22 March 2017  · 

I will post photos of the Gentry number one’s nut and bolt restoration. I hope you find it interesting. Chassis members are 3inch x 3inch and 1/8inch thick, Triumph front suspension, MG Midget rear axle with semi elliptic springs and Spitfire rear shocks.

23 March 2017  · 

Photos show fully sychro gearbox with j type overdrive that was first class order, but seals needed replacement. Engine, a 1296cc, was fully rebuilt. Spitfire springs lowered by grinding one coil off the top. It needed grinding to a feather edge and that gives a nice stance. Standard Spitfire rear shocks. All brake pipes are Kunifer non rust, new calipers, reconditioned steering rack and track rod ends that have a grease nipple.

23 March 2017  · 

My three main men, from left to right, Dave Coleman the welder, John Allsop the moulder and the late Philip Brian my right hand man. You could trust this bloke with your life RIP Phil. The best are always taken first.

24 March 2017  · 

My three main men, from left to right in the first This is the very first photo of the Gentry that I used in the first advert in Hotcar. Then I cut the photo down to the size I wanted. No computers or photo shop then just clockwork. Note – there is no trim or hood at this stage as these were very early days. Very poor quality but it started the ball rolling in 1974.

24 March 2017  · 

The very first fully assembled Gentry shell that I delivered was to a Mr Martin of New Milton, down south. It seems a lifetime ago and you wonder where the years have gone.

24 March 2017  · 

The rolling chassis is ready for the painted shell that has been stripped to the basics. I always find its best to paint the Gentry in parts as you get a better finish on areas such as side panels and the headlight pod. This way the piping is not painted. On my prototype there is red piping and with ivory I think it looks good. Also at this stage, when the body bolted to the chassis, I find it easier to fit all dashboard parts even before floorboards are fitted. You sit on the floor and work under the dash more easily than on your back. My floorboards are in first class condition after 44 years.

29 March 2017  · 

This shows the progress I have made. Everything is connected – all brake and fuel lines. it is now possible to start the Gentry to check it works as it should and it did. I can now press on with the body panels which require quite a bit of work. It seems that someone had used two pack paint and put it in a low bake oven set to high and there are micro ripples on the wings that need sanding out – a long job.

31  March 2017  · 

Note: this is the only Gentry with the iron framework like this. At the time when I was designing the framework I wanted to make sure when the wing was bolted on it was strong enough. I remember sitting on the wing to demonstrate how sturdy it was, but then I tried it without this section and it still took my weight so I deleted this part of the framework. By the way at the time I was 14 stone 7 pounds and I cannot believe that when I tried this recently I thought will it still hold my weight at 13 stone 6 pounds which is what I am now.

2 April 2017  · 

It was now the time to sort the dreadful wiring. Over the thirty years apart much of the wiring was changed. Some black wire was live feed so I decided to start from scratch using wire I have collected over the years from various restorations with the correct colours – red is sidelights – black is earth- green and purple are brake lights – and so on. Now it is all correct and you can refer to the Triumph workshop manual wiring diagram. I must admit it’s not like cars of today – far too technical.

2 April 2017  · 

I think this angle shows the lines of the Gentry.

3 April 2017  · 

I’ve started to do a little trim, cutting new panels from my old trim shapes and I wanted to leave a message to the next owner. I am sure at some time in the future someone will take the door trim panel off and find this note long after my demise, because I took on this restoration knowing this is not for me but to bring my Gentry back to its former glory. It does not matter how much money or time I spend, I just want the Gentry to go on and on.

6 April 2017  · 

I’ve started to make my hood and sidescreens. I wanted to make the front ones so they could slide using 18g ally covered with the same material as the hood. Use 4mm plexi glass and you get no distortion. They are mounted using the standard fixings. The hood is taking shape, but I am not sure about my wife’s sewing machine. I use it when she is not around. You know how the saying goes, “you bend it, you buy it” but so far so good.

6 April 2017  · 

It is now starting to take shape, as soon the front n/s wing is bolted on.

7 April 2017  · 

The photos show my set up for the lights at the rear. The plynths for the rear flasher are made from plastic drain downpipe cut to the correct angle then filled with body filler and then insert a hole to fit the Lucas flasher and painted silver. The reflectors need to be vertical to work as they should. They are also on a painted plynth.

8 April 2017  · 

I’ve just taken old number 1 out for a spin. It goes great and the overdrive works well – after 43yrs its aged better than I have!

10 April 2017  · 

I think it’s important that when you restore a classic car the underside and engine bay are painted. I think it states that it’s not just top show.

10 April 2017  · 

Trim is just about finished. The bench seat is red leather, the gearbox cover is the site for the overdrive switch. The horn button is alongside

10 April 2017  · 

From this to this.

10 April 2017  · 

The six RMB badges are forty+ years old and all are in great condition. The wheels by the way are Triumph TR3a

13 April 2017  · 

I have put the flashers in the torpedo sidelight with orange bulbs and put the sidelight bulbs within the headlights like early Minis.

14 April 2017  · 

Photo from 1976 the summer we all remember.

6 August 2018  · 

Did anybody know I was at the NEC in the 80s with my show Gentry and a rolling chassis based on a Morris Marina. After much interest at the show I only sold one and that was after months of no takers. It did go when I fitted a Gentry body to the chassis ,so that was that ,no more Marina based kits.

7 July 2020  · 

I have a fetish for old english white 

1 April 2021  · 

The first and the last.

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