Chassis no. B128 KT The Derby Bentleys were introduced with the advertising slogan, ‘the silent sports car’ and soon delivered on this promise with spirited drives from Eddie Hall in his three Tourist Trophy races of 1934–36 and in 1950 at Le Mans, and Solton Hay’s entry into three consecutive Le Mans races. However, it was not only performance that provided the appeal of this car; it was the combination of refined silence, speed and reliability that signalled a new era of motoring. This refined vintage Bentley is one of two saloon coupes ever built with this style of special order Vanden Plas coachwork (design number 1383). B11HM is the only other can with a similar design. This style is considered to be particularly elegant due to its pleasing lines and attractive coachwork, with this example finished in cherry red over black with cranberry-piped Oyster leather, West of England cloth headlining and silver-inlaid wood veneer. Chassis B128KT was supplied new to Messrs Hoffmann & Huppert. As a stylish and refined two-door couple, the sleek lines undoubtedly appealed to Max Hoffman, who was later instrumental in the development of the Mercedes 300SL ‘Gullwing’ and BMW 507. The factor
March of 1936 saw the introduction of Bentley’s latest model, aimed at providing buyers an unparalleled experience of virtually silent, high-speed motoring. The 3 ½ liter “Derby” of 1933 had already proven to be strong seller, remaining in production when the 4 ¼ liter joined it three years later. The 4 ¼ in essence shared a chassis, gearbox and rear axle with its smaller-engine sibling but provided improved performance, a broader torque band and exceptionally silent operation at virtually any speed. For just £50 more than the 3 ½, the 4 ¼ was an obvious choice for buyers and it soon fully replaced the smaller car. As with before, Bentley supplied only a rolling chassis while a myriad of bodies was offered by any number of British coachbuilders. Many cars were built with “standard catalog” bodies by the likes of Freestone & Webb, Park Ward, Mulliner, and Gurney-Nutting. Of course, many special bodies were also built to order and, depending on the tastes and loyalties of the clientele, ranged from conservative saloons to flamboyant streamlined cabriolets. Between March of 1936 and May of 1939, 1,241 examples were produced at the Derby works over two series, and thanks to the vast array of coachbuilders that supplied bodies, a great deal of variety remains among surviving cars. Prior to the outbreak of WWII, the MkV was set to replace the 4 ¼ (of which just 17 were built) and the post-war MkVI ultimately became the next true “production” Bentley. Chassis B118HK is an early 4 ¼-liter; produced in 1936 and completed in time to be exhibited on the Gurney-Nutting stand at the Olympia Motor Show in October. The streamlined “Airflow” saloon body was penned by Gurney-Nutting’s enormously talented chief designer, A.F. McNeil, and is one of just two such cars built to this design. Originally finished in “steel dust” over grey leather upholstery, B118HK’s presence at Olympia has been confirmed by noted Bentley historian Michael Ellman-Brown and it can be seen in its original specification on page 206 of Johnnie Green’s book Bentley: Fifty Years of the Marque. The streamlined design is beautifully balanced, avoiding the sometimes awkward or unnaturally flamboyant lines that can afflict similar designs. It is conservative yet still immensely stylish, with every angle proving well resolved and finely detailed. Today, B118HK wears a set of rear wheel spats, which were not originally fitted on this car, but were inspired by the ones fitted to its sister car. It retains wheel discs and a single side-mount spare wheel as per original specification. Following the Olympia Motor Show, B118HK was delivered to its first owner, Major C. Watson Smythe of Cornwall, via The Car Mart, Ltd of London, in March of 1937. In 1940 it was passed to C.J. Oppenheim, and then to V. Motion of London, himself a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force. Copies of the DVLA records document subsequent British owners through the early 1960s. It then passed through the famed London dealers Frank Dale & Stepsons to Art Mullaly of Carmel California who would keep the car for a further 14 years. In the late 1980s it was restored to the specification you see today, and exhibited by then-owner Malcolm Schneer at a variety of events including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1995 and the RROC National Meet of the same year. It presents in fine condition today, still wearing its first and only restoration. The red paintwork is in good order, showing some patina in places but remaining pleasing and overall very attractive. It still displays its original British registration number, DXN 401 and remains very correct with only the rear spats being a later addition to the stunning body. The chrome is in good order, and it wears fabulous Lucas headlamps and central spot lamp. Body fitment is good, and panels are straight and sound. The body features an array of interesting details, including a sunroof, multi-panel boot, a distinct lack of a rear bumper and a split rear window. The cabin is trimmed in tan leather piped in red, with tan carpets all presenting in good order. The restoration has held up well, with some signs of use while remaining pleasant and inviting. More fine details abound, such as a recessed headliner to accommodate taller passengers in the streamlined roofline, a lovely restored dash panel and even a driver-operated rear privacy shade. Like the exterior, the restoration has held up well and still presents in respectable order remaining very suitable for a car that could be toured regularly or shown at a local level. The engine (K2BY) and drivetrain are in fine fettle, with an honest and tidy presentation. The engine is mated to a four-speed manual gearbox with Bentley’s right-hand floor shift, a delightfully tactile and mechanically positive device that is a signature joy of driving a Bentley of his era. Usable and even showable as is, the historical significance and beautiful coachwork also make B118HK an excellent choice for tours, as these 4 ¼ liter cars offer outstanding performance for the era. Whichever path is chosen, it is sure that this gorgeous and important streamlined Bentley will continue to be the show stopper it always has been.
ONE-OFF BENTLEY 4 1/4 LITRE VESTERS & NEIRINCK, COACHBUILT DROP HEAD COUPE This chassis was produced in February 1937 and shipped on 12-3-'37 to Ets. Pisart, 52 Boulevard de Waterloo in Brussels (now domicile of Polo by Ralph Lauren) for showroom use. A gentleman M. Pater bought the rolling chassis and commissioned a 3 position drop head coupe body at Vesters et Neirinck, 105 Rue du Foyer de Schaerbeekois, a 15 minutes’ walk from his house at 91 rue Metsys in Schaerbeek (Brussels). From 8-19 January B137JY was Vesters & Neirincks' show car at the 1938 Brussels motor show (29st Salon de l'automobile et du cycli). M. Pater took delivery of the car on, 4 May 1938. The chassis card describes the following features delivered with the rolling chassis, one Ace Cornercroft spare wheel cover and 5 wheel discs, a speedometer in kilometers and a petrol gauge in litres. All lamps such as headlamps, fog lamps and taillights are from the Belgium manufacture, Willocq Bottin. All the above features are still on the car at present. The famous Bentley coupe from collector Claude Lang was also built at Vesters & Neirinck in the same months, which is visible in several details. Vesters & Neirinck were one of the top coachbuilders on the Bentley chassis before the war, most of them are still in existence due to their high value and wonderfully crafted design. How B137 JY has survived WWII has to be sorted out, but the fact is that the car turned up in the USA in 1964 at Keith M. Merrick of Sibley Ohio. Then moved in 1967 to Kansas City, where it stayed until it was auctioned in September 1987, where after it came via Classic automobiles to the hands of Anthony Gervis from Stourport on Severn. As the engine was in poor condition when collected in London, mr. Gervis decided to bring the car to Haines and Hall where they then decided to restore the whole car. After spending much money and effort from May 1988 until August 1990 including an engine, brakes and electricity overhaul. mr. Gervis then decided to bring his car in 1991 to Ian Pinder from RR&B in Bromsgrove, very near to where he lives down. They carried out an extensive body-off retrim for £69.000 finished in October 1991. At that stage the odometer read 57.645 kilometers. The present owner bought the car in May 1999 the odometer read 62.646 kilometers. After the first kilometers he asked RR&B to fit an overdrive. The car has been used for some major trips through Europe and even 5000 kilometers through South Africa in 2003 organized by John White from the Bentley drivers club. The car has been seen many times at the annual rallies from the Bentley Drivers Club as well as the Rolls Royce Owners Club. B137 JY won in total 14 trophies, in the beginning second in class but the owner learned fast and was aiming to be first in class resulting several times in 96 points. Even achieving a “best in show” (the P & A Wood trophy) the last trophies were in June 2015 at the RREC annual rally at Burghley house, where he was awarded with “most elegant” and “first in class” again with 96 points! All big and small factory fitted tools are complete and with the car. As the overdrive made a strange noise and the professionals claimed that this kind of overdrive did not properly fit under a Derby Bentley the overdrive has been changed by an high ratio axle (3.64:1) in 2011. All maintenance since 2003 has been carried by Ken Lea. The car is in top condition and ready to drive or show. http://www.historic-competitionservices.eu/nl/bentley-4-1-4l-vesters---neirinck-coachbuilt-drop-head-coupe-one-off
Chassis No: B 138 GA Engine No : K 6 BW Registration No: BLV 272 The ‘Derby Bentley’ is widely regarded as the most sophisticated car that money could buy in the 1930’s. The chassis was remarkable in that it offered the driver effortless sports car performance in almost absolute silence. This was achieved with a six cylinder engine with a synchromesh four-speed gearbox, with servo assisted braking and with a one shot lubrication system. If this was not enough the car also had the benefit of adjustable rear suspension and a chassis damper that doubled as a front bumper. The engine had a cross flow cylinder head with SU carburettors, a crankshaft damper and roller cam followers. Originally only available with a 3½ Litre engine the more powerful 4¼ Litre option became available in 1936. In their understated way Rolls-Royce had created one of greatest cars of the day, the “Silent Sports Car” and it is not surprising that so many notable figures, celebrities and racing drivers of the day owned them. The first Vanden Plas Tourer on the new 4¼ Litre Chassis was ordered by the legendary racer and World Land Speed Record holder Sir Malcolm Campbell. This car B 138 GA is the sister car, buil
Registration No: ELC 321 Chassis No: B 107 KU Engine No: S 4 BT The ‘Derby Bentley’ is widely regarded as the most sophisticated car that money could buy in the 1930’s. The chassis was remarkable in that it offered the driver effortless sports car performance in almost absolute silence. This was achieved with a six cylinder engine with a synchromesh four-speed gearbox, with servo assisted braking and with a one shot lubrication system. If this was not enough the car also had the benefit of adjustable rear suspension and a chassis damper that doubled as a front bumper. The engine had a cross flow cylinder head with SU carburettors, a crankshaft damper and roller cam followers. Originally only available with a 3½ Litre engine the more powerful 4¼ Litre option became available in 1936. In their understated way Rolls-Royce had created one of greatest cars of the day, the “Silent Sports Car” and it is not surprising that so many notable figures, celebrities and racing drivers of the day owned them. Vanden Plas Body No: 3599 (Light and dark Grey) Body Design: 1459 Chassis B 107 KU is an original Vanden Plas Tourer and was the first Bentley to be fitted with this design coachwork. It is o
Bentley rose to prominence with powerful early models that were equally capable of winning the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans or carrying the most elegant coachwork effortlessly. But even the fascinating figure of Woolf Barnato – diamond heir, investor, Le Mans winner and leading Bentley Boy – could not save Bentley from receivership in 1931. W.O. Bentley believed he had reached agreement with Lagonda for a sale to be approved by the receivership court. He believed, that is, until a gentlemen stood to address himself to the court with a higher offer from an unidentified bidder. The receiver was obligated to accept the higher offer. The bidder was soon revealed to be Bentley’s keen rival, Rolls-Royce. The first Bentley to be produced in Rolls-Royce’s Derby factory was the 1933 Bentley 3.5 Liter. This Bentley was also the first from the 1933-1940 era that collectively became known as Derby (‘Darby’) Bentleys. The 3.5 Liter resulted from Rolls-Royce ‘Peregrine’ project, intended to create a fine motorcar on a reduced scale appropriate to the increasingly difficult Great Depression. That project ultimately produced two motorcars: the Rolls-Royce 20/25 and the Bentley 3.5 Liter. Development of the Bentley 3.5 Liter was completed under the ongoing direction of W.O. Bentley and resulted in the creation of two very different motorcars, fortunately for Bentley enthusiasts. There is a reason, after all, that the counterpart to the Rolls-Royce Owners Club is the Bentley Drivers Club! The Bentley 3.5 Liter became known as ‘The Silent Sports Car’, featuring a cross-flow cylinder head design with twin S.U. carburetors and twin fuel pumps that produced 105 horsepower that when fed through a four-speed synchromesh transmission was good for 90 mph. The Bentley 3.5 Liter was well received by an adoring public for its masterful blend of luxury and performance. W.O. Bentley is said to have called this the best motorcar ever to carry his name at the time. Displacement was enlarged to 4.25 liters in 1936 raising output to 126 horsepower and top speed to nearly 100 mph, both increasing performance and once again the ability to carry a wide range of coachworks. Chassis and engines built in Derby were delivered exclusively to coachbuilders who designed and constructed bodies to buyers’ individual specification. Given this level of exclusivity, a total of only 1,234 Bentley 4.25 Liters were produced between 1936 and 1940. This 1938 Bentley 4.25 Liter Park Ward Saloon is a very good original automobile that has never required nor received a complete restoration, but has recently been refreshed to a high standard as shown in the accompanying images. This automobile presents as just what one would want an old Bentley to be, formal and familiar at once. The coachwork displays one of the handsomest bodies constructed on this chassis; perhaps more suited to a government minister than a monarch. The exterior is finished in a tasteful black and tan and a contrasting red coach line, with black fenders and full wheel covers displaying both colors to good effect. The older paint shows cracks and a few obvious imperfections as to be expected with age, but has been polished to a bright shine that provides a splendid first impression. Brightwork has been applied sparingly and is in good order. The original interior lives up to Bentley’s reputation for sporting luxury. The bone colored leather seats and door cards have been retained with all their patina, calling to mind a venerable club environment. The chairs are comfortably inviting, but have been showing their age for some time now. The headliner and carpet are new. The extensive original wood is very nice, not cracked or split. A sliding metal sunroof opens over the front seat, simply inviting sunny drives. The trunk is original and shows it age, but includes some original tools and a clever trouble light. A fantastic small detail is an original sticker on the windshield that testifies to the fact that this Bentley participated in the 1967 International Rolls-Royce and Bentley Pageant at Goodwood. W.O. Bentley, who lived until 1971, is known to have attended this event in person. It would be very easy to overstate the attraction of this wonderful old Bentley, but certainly that is not what we intend to do. This is a very good original example of a special automobile that also runs and drives very well. The original body is very straight and the interior has been sympathetically updated. The car has never been apart. This is an exceptional pre-war Bentley, and that is an invitation to enjoy this car in every way Rolls-Royce and W.O. Bentley intended. Brisk performance with fine handling, comfortable long-distance touring and stately curb appeal are all at hand.