A classic car enthusiast was stunned when he watched The King’s Speech at the cinema and spotted a vintage Bentley – which he bought for £100 nearly 40 years ago.
Stunned Harvey Bowden, 61, instantly recognised his former car – which is still in pristine condition – as it still bears the same number plate BGF 63.
He bought the clapped-out classic car in 1972 and spent a year painstakingly restoring it before selling it for £700 – seven times what he paid for it.
Harvey was forced to part with the cherished motor to fund a new business venture and was devastated to see it go.
But he kept several pictures of the iconic car and was amazed to see it on the silver screen when he took his wife Ann, 57, to see The King’s Speech last month.
The modified 1934 Mulliner Park Ward was seen in the Oscar-nominated Hollywood blockbuster waiting to drive princes Bertie and Edward away from a landing strip in an field.
Harvey, of Looe in Cornwall, said the pair couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw the car in the film, starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter.
The grandfather-of-one said: ”We were absolutely gobsmacked. My wife recognised it first. She jumped up and down in the cinema.
“We always nicknamed the car ‘Bowden’s Great Folly’ from the registration number BGF 63 – for ever having sold it.
“And now it turns up in Hollywood. It was lovely to see the old girl. There was no doubt that it was our car.
“I was devastated to see it go when I sold it and seeing it again on the big screen really brought back some memories. We couldn’t believe it.”
Harvey bought the car from his lodger’s father while living in Woking, Surrey, for the ”bargain” price of £100 in 1972.
He then sold it two years later and used the cash to start his business Harvey Water Softeners Ltd, which he still runs today.
Harvey said: ”I am a keen restorer of vintage motorcycles and thought it would be fun to have an old car.
“When we uncovered it and dragged it out backwards, we realised what an absolute bargain we had acquired.”
Harvey was then left with the daunting task of restoring the car – which had been off the road for ten years because of a problem with the engine.
But he managed to get it going again with the use of a tractor battery and took it to a garage to see if it could be repaired.
It was discovered that the only problem clamps holding the rocker shaft was loose and needed tightening.
Harvey added: ”The mechanic took an old Whitworth spanner from his pocket, tightened it down and the engine went dead quiet.
“We were gutted as we had already agreed to sell it for £700. But life goes on.”
The King’s Speech is a 2010 film directed by Tom Hooper and has been nominated for twelve Academy Awards and seven Golden Globes.
It tells the story of King George VI, played by Firth, as he tries to overcome his stammer to make a radio broadcast at the beginning of the Second World War.