St Albans car enthusiast and traveller remembered

David Bennett

David Bennett - Credit: Archant

Car enthusiast, entrepreneur and traveller, David Bennett, has died after a short illness aged 85.

The devoted husband, father and grandfather was the co-founder of St Albans-based family car parts firm, L. Bennett and Sons, Ltd.

Born in the London Borough of Hendon, David started his working life selling scrap metal from a market stall and breaking up Austin Sevens.

Bennett’s was formed after he and his father Leonard secured premises in Normandy Road, St Albans, in 1954. The business has grown markedly over the years and David’s sons, John and Mark, now oversee the running of 24 branches.

David was an inspiration to the thousands of business-owners he met during his life. He never believed business was about making money whatever the cost and had a strong sense of responsibility towards clients, suppliers and staff alike.

His contribution to the industry earned hime a Product Manager of the Year award from the independent Motor Trade Factors Associated Ltd. (IFA).

David’s love of classic cars was legendary; he would often drive his W.O. Bentley, Austin Sevens, S3 Bentley, Silver Cloud S2 Rolls Royce, Morris 8 and Morris Minor to car shows and share his enthusiasm with others.

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His prowess at typing was well-known, to the extent that it was spotted during interviews for National Service and rather than travel overseas, he was seen as more useful on home turf.

David also served as treasurer of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), and belonged to the Bentley Drivers Club, the RAC in Pall Mall and the Naval Club.

His daughter in law, Andrea Thornton, said: “An avid reader, David’s favourite poem was Thinking by Walter D. Wintle. The last two lines, ‘Sooner or later the man who wins, Is the one who thinks he can!’ perfectly sum up his approach to life.”

David leaves his wife Frances and his sons.