Post Number: 15
|Posted on Thursday, 15 December, 2005 - 10:06 am: |
It is with great sadness that I report the passing of the legendary Terry Bruce. Terry died peacefully at home on Monday night. Terry leaves behind daughters Mandy and Debbie and granchildren, Emma, Simon, Danny and Lucas.
Post Number: 257
|Posted on Thursday, 15 December, 2005 - 05:45 pm: |
That is sad news Mark.
I have fond and irreverent memories of Terry's unorthodox sense of humour. His ‘Spinderical Mandragula’, His metre long ashtray, the coin balance tester and many other ‘special’ Rolls-Royce artefacts that he comically put on show.
I remember the time at Government House in Victoria when The Silver Ghost (60551 registered as AX-201) headed our rally when he had the then Governor, Sir Brian and Lady Murray in stitches with his antics.
New members were never quite sure how to take him, but he always had his tongue firmly in his cheek.
He was also the Custodian of the late Bruce Blackburn’s Silver Cloud 1 (SFE 459), before the recently deceased Peter Shellard organised the sale of it to me through Mr. Frank Shine. I had Eleanor for twenty faithful years.
Characters like Terry are few and far between and many will sadly miss him. I count myself as one of them.
Post Number: 16
|Posted on Friday, 16 December, 2005 - 08:52 pm: |
I thought I would share some memories of Terry with those that knew him and give an insight to those that didn't.
I first met him in the late eighties. A neighbor had told me of some vintage Rolls-Royces in a garage and curiosity got the better of me. I walked in off the street and Terry was cleaning his beloved 20 hp GYK47, having just returned from a federal rally. Terry was explaining to me the ins and outs of the Twenty when I mentioned the production figure of 2940. He stopped in his tracks and immediately realised I wasn't just some Johnny come lately. His next question was 'OK smart@#%$, how many were four wheel brakers?'
Within minutes I was given the guided tour and shown the vast collection of hats, the walking sticks that contained everything from gun barrels, swords and whiskey. I was shown the silver cross and the piano bar. The piano bar was an antique piano that terry had converted into a bar. With a press of one pedal the top would open to reveal the glasses, press the other pedal and music would start playing as the bottles were revealed.
Above is a photo of the Silver Cross pram-daulet. As you can see it is fully equipped with many RR accessories! Even Prince charles would sometimes be a passenger! A rather long story would usually go hand in hand with Terry's inventions. For this one a recording would be broadcast through a discreet speaker in the grille. Terry would explain to his audience (with tongue in cheek)that he had had the silver cross serviced at the local RR dealer for $800. The recording would then broadcast the sound of a car struggling to start. The story would continue and Terry would say look what happened when I took it to the local garage down the road for $20. With impeccable timing the sound of a V12 Ferrari would burst into life to the amusement of the ever growing audience.
As you can see many of Terry's inventions could be adapted for other purposes. The grille from the silver cross would grace his Healy bugeye sprite to become the Silver Sprite at some rallies. This usually allowed him to park with the Marque cars.
The 'spiderical mandragula' was one of the all time classics. It would emerge from its storage case. The captivated audience would watch as it would replace the mascot. Sometimes a volunteer was called upon to hold the string that were attached. Terry would return to the drivers seat as the crowd watched in anticipation. Terry would pull the string and the spinderical mandragula would do nothing more than turn half a turn then stop. Terry would announce 'I don't know what it does but doesn't it do it beautifully!'}}
Post Number: 537
|Posted on Saturday, 17 December, 2005 - 09:24 am: |
Hi Mark and Robert,
More please - if possible, could you organise and publish on this forum a more detailed tribute to a club member who obviously has been one of those rare characters who leave an indelible impression on everyone they meet.
Post Number: 17
|Posted on Saturday, 17 December, 2005 - 01:56 pm: |
The penny balanced on the town cap to show the extreme smoothness of the 20 hp while idling. The end of the optional sphygmomanometer can just be seen to right of the photo. This was used to 'spin' the coin. Terry would sometimes wear the coin on a top hat to show how equally well balanced he was.
The following is a text of a letter from Terry to Rolls-Royce Ltd dated 5th April 1964. It was printed in praeclarum pg.2550 3-95.
I had a rather bitter blow last week when my great dane swallowed my car keys.
As yet I have not seen sight of them and as I love my dog too much to contemplate vivesection, I would be greatful if you could forward at your earliest convenience ignition keys for my two 20 Horsepower Rolls-Royces. The chassis numbers are GLK62 and 76A7.
If the enclosed cheque does not cover the cost of the keys and freight, I will forward the balance.
(signed) Terry Bruce.
The keys arrived a couple of weeks later.
( I am not sure that Terry ever owned a great dane!)
Another of Terry's 'historical artefacts' was what looked like a failed attempt at casting a Rolls-Royce wheel hub nut. The story emerged that this deformed looking nut was actually the last remaining fragment of the Lenin Ghost that had been destroyed in some kind of Russian nuclear meltdown. Terry even kept it in a lead lined box to prevent any radiation leaks!
There was never a dull moment at Terrys' place. there was always some kind of project on the go. I remember one time Terry had a Jinker for a pony. I was thinking, 'Terry doesn't own a pony?' On the next visit the jinker was rigged to an electric wheelchair so he could take his granchildren for rides around the block!
On another visit Terry (who had a large suburban back yard), casually mentioned he was running sheep on the property. I looked out the window and sure enough there were two sheep grazing on the tennis court. They had apparently arrived in the back of the family car.
Terry loved a conversation piece. I remember at one time he owned a Tuba. I doubt he could play it but that didn't stop him from taking a second car to the Ballarat federal rally in 1992 just to transport it.
The ashtray that Robert mentioned earlier eventuated because the story goes that when your Rolls-Royce ashtray is full it's time to replace the car. GYK47 has an ashtray that can hold a lifetime supply of cigarette butts.
Terry had a million of 'em. I am sure there are many people out there who have a Terry story they could share with us.
Post Number: 258
|Posted on Saturday, 17 December, 2005 - 03:13 pm: |
Not many people knew it but Terrence Donovan O’Reilly the Bruce also had a title.
Yes, in fact it was earned during his service in the Armed Forces. The Navy, in fact.
I cannot remember it verbatim but on his introduction cards (for those fortunate enough to have received one) were the letters, YMTBCTITN (or something similar), after his name.
This apparently came about after the Admiral of the Fleet pulled Terry into service when some dignitaries came on board.
Terry was put in charge of catering and although the food was standard issue, Terry’s flair for perfection ‘reputedly’ drew the attention of HRH Prince Philip himself.
So impressed was he that he bestowed Terry with these letters, which Terry proudly bore for the rest of his days.
Oh! Did I hear you ask what they stood for?
Wait for it…
You Make The Best Cup of Tea In The Navy
Post Number: 18
|Posted on Saturday, 17 December, 2005 - 06:56 pm: |
hahahahah I remember that one Rob. I still have mine. It was from a card he made up for his good mate Patrick Kane White. My version is Y.M.T.B.C.O.T.I.T.B.O.B (YOU MAKE THE BEST CUP OF TEA IN THE BAY OF BISCAY (or was it Bengal?).
Like many Terry stories they were subject to change without notice. This would sometimes depend on the time of day and volume of lambrusca consumed.
Oh, and Terry did recieve another title reproduced below
Post Number: 937
|Posted on Saturday, 17 December, 2005 - 08:54 pm: |
Terry's passing is indeed sad, but let us remember him as he would certainly demand.
He was the most hilarious person I have ever witnessed. When I was barely a teen at the first Federal Rally in Canberra (was it 1969 ?), his performance had me in stitches for hours, and again a few years later at the Shepparton Federal Rally (1975 ?) and others. His wit and ingenuity turned his sideshow instantly to centre stage, possibly to the annoyance of the organisers !
The perfectness of his 20HP and his outrageously hideous humour confirmed to the stunned innocent visitors that Rolls-Royce motor cars are the most fantastic, and that all we Club members are definitely terminally insane.
There must be many more pictures out there: please post them.
With very fond memories of Terry, a truly great and unique contributor,
Post Number: 19
|Posted on Sunday, 18 December, 2005 - 07:05 pm: |
Post Number: 32
|Posted on Monday, 19 December, 2005 - 09:44 pm: |
Terry was indeed a legend. My siblings and I always found his antics a welcome distraction from "grown-up" stuff at RR rallys in the 'sixties and 'seventies.
My first encounter with him as an adult (me, that is - I'm not sure Terry ever really grew up) was at a 20-Ghost Club rally in Bateman's Bay. He was in GYK47, his utterly immaculate 20HP (see above picture), and I was driving 1492. I told him I was in the market for a 20 and he asked if I'd driven many. I said "No" and needless to say an offer to drive GYK47 followed.
I joined him out in the carpark and he invited me to get in GYK47's driver's seat while he walked around and got in the other side. He spent a few minutes explaining various particulars about the car and then finally said "Right, let's get going. You'd better check she's not in gear first, though." I declutched and moved the gear lever and...
The damn' engine had been running all the time!
I called him a crafty old bastard or something and he cackled appropriately and we went driving. What an absolutely delightful car to drive! I surprised him by not crunching the gears at all and he bestowed upon me "The Order of the Kangaroo" - or some such thing - in honour of my achievement.
Quite coincidentally, last Saturday I was shown some family photos, and one of them was of my brother John on Christmas Day some years ago, at the moment he received a tuba. It was Terry's famous one that usually had a tape player in it with a flute recording of "Flight of the Bumblebee" or "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba" or some such utterly non-tuba piece. Terry put it up for auction at the Leura Federal Rally and my mother bought it on commissioned bid. I can assure you the tuba is now used for real in the French's Forest Band. I hope Terry knew that.
Post Number: 259
|Posted on Thursday, 22 December, 2005 - 12:12 am: |
Just found an old photo (December 6th. 1981)of Terry and myself after our , then annual RR Cricket Match at St. Kevins's College,Toorak.
The smirk on his face was the result of my sister's reaction to him when I introduced Terry to her. He shook hands with Jenny, then immediately 'dropped his daks' to show her his Spirit of Ecstacy jocks. My sister didn't necessarily share my sense of humour and was not amused. I still have a giggle about it even now.
Post Number: 20
|Posted on Friday, 23 December, 2005 - 07:18 pm: |
Apparently the pre war owners took on the post war owners. I remember reading Terry's cheeky comment regarding the post war team. Something along the lines of "Just like their cars, promised a lot but delivered very little."
Post Number: 260
|Posted on Friday, 23 December, 2005 - 07:57 pm: |
We actually won that year.