Bell Sport and Classic wouldn’t exist today without one man. The softly-spoken Peter Bell was an engineer, a lifelong car enthusiast and a man whose entrepreneurial spirit saw him create not one, but several successful businesses.
Born in 1926 in the coalmining Yorkshire town of Wath on Dean, Peter served in the Navy towards the end of the Second World War and afterwards continued his education with a degree in engineering. His first job was in the chemical industry, working for ICI, before moving to glassmakers Pilkingtons as a works engineer. A spell at DuPont in Canada followed, during which time Peter became conversant with the booming world of plastics technology. Moving back to England with his wife and young daughter, he transferred those skills to the Polyester Film Division of ICI in Welwyn Garden City.
Peter Bell was clearly both ambitious and highly intelligent, and he wasn’t destined to remain an ICI company man forever. He next took a job at a printing company but could soon tell the business wasn’t in good shape. Taking his redundancy cheque of £5,000 – “quite a lot of money in those days” as he recalled – he looked for a new sector to conquer and eventually settled on the automotive aftermarket.