Barbara Durden Davis’ most prized possession is older than her 32-year law career. Davis, a Family Law attorney in West Des Moines, is the proud owner of a 1958 Bentley S1 Saloon automobile named “The Duke.”
Davis has always had an interest in classic cars (she’s had a Jaguar XJ12, a Porsche and a BMW 2002) and she claims to be an ardent Anglophile. (Davis was interviewed by Channel 8 News when Princess Diana died. She was also awarded for best hat at a British tea party in Ames in celebration of Prince William’s wedding.) She knows from multiple trips to England that the Royals use Bentleys along with Rolls Royces, and she believes the Queen prefers the Bentleys.
When Davis stumbled upon what appeared to be a British classic, it is no surprise that she was persistent to sit in the driver’s seat. She and her husband, Mark, were driving past an old gas station in Lyons, Colo., on their way to Estes Park when she noticed the car sitting inside.
“I saw the nose of the car facing out of the garage door,” Davis said, “and I yelled at my husband ‘Turn in here!’” Mark, who is uninterested in cars, encouraged her to go on to the mountains and they’d return later to see the car, only the shop was closed when they came back.
“I just wanted to sit in it so I could experience a real Bentley and tell my friends,” Davis said.
She and Mark went back to the garage the next day and the car was parked outside. The owner offered Davis a drive, but she declined being that it was right-hand drive and an unfamiliar town. For several weeks after returning home from Colorado, Davis dithered over purchasing the vehicle. Finally, she made an offer, negotiated with the owner, and it was delivered to her home on a multiple car carrier on Sept. 27, 2010.
The Bentley, designed for British elite, has two mirrors and lights in the back where women check their make-up. Two wooden cocktail tables fold out from the front seats and another folds out from the dashboard for the passenger. Davis has gotten used to the right-hand drive, saying it is a piece of cake for her now.
When Barbara and Mark are out with the car and men start to talk to Mark about it, he steps back, gestures to Barb and says “it’s her car, not mine.”