Lot 216 - 1936 Bentley 4¼ litre Saloon by Park Ward
|Odometer reading||79,000 miles|
|Estimate||£72,000 - £85,000|
|Result||Sold - £92,960|
Bentley motorcars have always been built to be driven. That is as true today as it was in 1919 when W. O. Bentley designed the first vintage Bentley. The early history was written on the racetracks with the spirit of the Bentley Boys. They celebrated five magnificent Le Mans victories in the 1920's and in 2003, enjoyed a return to those glory years with a sixth win. When Rolls-Royce bought Bentley Motors, they shut down production of the 8 and 4½ litre. Then they had to decide what to do with the Bentley name as they couldn't afford to alienate their customer base and not build a new Bentley. The question was what sort of car to build; after several false starts, the Experimental Department developed a prototype car based on an earlier 18hp experimental chassis called the 'Peregrine' and a suitably tweaked 20/25hp engine; this combination proved to be a winner.
W.O. Bentley, drove one of the prototype cars extensively on the Continent and wrote back to the Derby factory giving the car overall praise. Launched in 1933, the first of what would become known as the 'Derby Bentleys' continued the marque's sporting associations. The 'Silent Sportscar', as it was quickly dubbed, had few peers and as a tireless long-distance tourer, it combining traditional Rolls-Royce refinement with Bentley performance and handling. Based on the contemporary Rolls-Royce 20/25, the 3½ litre Bentley was slightly shorter in the wheelbase and employed a tuned, twin-SU-carburettor-equipped version of the former's 3,669cc overhead-valve six; an increase in bore size upped the capacity to 4,257cc in 1936. The 4¼ litre model offered more power while retaining the well-proven chassis and servo-assisted brakes.
The previous owner, Peter Richardson, purchased the car on 13th May 1968 and in the history file, over 72 documents, letters and invoices can be viewed from the day Mr. Richardson acquired the car until May 1973, just before the car was taken off the road.
In May 1983, the car was sent to Excel Engineering of Solihull to be re-commissioned. It was collected from them on 8th December 1983 by the highly respected Healey Brother for a full bodywork restoration and re- paint, completed in October 1985.
The car was then stored in 1986 where it remained until 2010. Over the winter of 2009-10, the garage where the car was stored was broken into and a few items were stolen from the car and damage was done to the wiring. Aviva Insurance brought the car back to its original superb condition costing over £20,000 including £700 worth of new tyres fitted. In early 2015, the engine was removed, stripped and the bottom end was sent to leading Rolls-Royce and Bentley engineers, Rists of Nottingham, were they did a full rebuild. While this was undertaken, the cylinder head was pressure-tested, the carburettors, starter and dynamo were rebuilt and the car was striped to bare metal and re-sprayed in two-tone Black/Maroon. Most of the chrome was also re-plated and the headlight reflectors re-silvered, all told, costing just shy of £60,000. The condition now is superb with the bodywork and drive-train in excellent condition throughout.
The car underwent an MoT test for the first time in many years in August 2015 and since then, has covered about 350 very enjoyable miles. With this being one of only 12 built with this style of bodywork and with the very comprehensive history record, original handbook and tools, this rare example can be used reliably and often with confidence.
Previous lotLot 215 - 1976 Ferrari 308 GT4 Dino
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