Lot 290 - 1936 Bentley 4¼ litre Sports Saloon by Park Ward

Lot 290 - 1936 Bentley 4¼ litre Sports Saloon by Park Ward

Lot 290 - 1936 Bentley 4¼ litre Sports Saloon by Park Ward

Lot Number 290
Registration DNU 105
Chassis Number B170HK
Engine Number J7BZ
Odometer reading 106,000 miles
Result Sold - £87,360

When Rolls-Royce bought Bentley Motors, they shut down production of the 8 and 4½ litre. They then 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. 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. In 1936 the 4¼ litre model was offered with more power than the  litre while retaining the well-proven chassis and servo-assisted brakes.


Chassis B170HK was sold new to Thomas Leonard Ward, son of the famous steel magnate, Thomas William Ward. He purchased 'B170HK' from Hugh Keller of Paddon Bros, London, whose nameplate is still on the inner sill.Registered 'DNU 105', the Bentley was ordered in dark grey with black wings, plain un-louvred front apron painted black, black horns fitted beneath the apron, black radiator shutters, black head and side lamps and dark grey leather trim and carpets. Copies of which are recorded on the original order form and chassis cards on file. Instructions were given for the plated parts of the stop lamp and driving mirror to be painted to match the body. The car was still in this colour scheme when bought by subsequent owner William Morrison.


Mr. Ward and his wife undertook a number of continental tours with the car and a number of the early trips featured in various issues of 'On The Road'. The car was serviced at the Derby works pre-war and at Crewe thereafter. Mr. Ward died in 1960 but his wife kept the Bentley, only parting with it in 1979. Regretting it, she bought it back in 1983. In 1988, the car moved through two owners until, in 1989, when it was acquired by Peter Riley, the ex-BMC works Healey driver and husband of Ann Wisdom. Previous owner, William Morrison, bought the Bentley from Peter Riley in November 1995 at 95,200 miles. Peter Riley had had the engine rebuilt by A. B. Price at 93,800 miles but the body remained highly original although a modern oil filter conversion was fitted at this time. William Morrison started the rebuild himself but had to pass the car to John Williams of Chesterton Restorations for repair work to the extreme tail, front doors and front wings. New running boards (steel as original) were made by John Williams and new rear wings by a company in Bicester. The Bentley was then sent to Clanfield Restorations who removed the body, meanwhile Fiennes Restoration Ltd. carried out the chassis work required. All four road springs were tested and reset, new shackles and bushes being fitted. New kingpins were fitted together with other pins and bushes. A new pinion bearing was installed, the radiator re-cored and the Bijur system checked. The body was stripped to bare metal and repainted in the original colours, matched by ICI. A new sunroof frame (the largest ash section in this steel body) was made.


After re-assembly, the car was re-commissioned. At this time, the interior was sympathetically restored. The original grey leather on the door panels, seat bases and front seat backs was retained but the faces of the seats had to be re-upholstered in Connolly hide. Made and fitted by Gary Wright, and new Wilton carpets were matched to the grey originals. On 22nd May, 2004, 99,999 miles were recorded on the odometer, this momentous occasion being photographed by Will Morrison on the roads near his home; a further 6,000-or-so miles have since been covered.


Exceptionally well documented, 'DNU 105' comes with several files of paperwork, close inspection of which is strongly recommended. These contain invoices for restoration and maintenance between 1995 and 2012 totaling almost£100,000, a photographic record of the extensive restoration works carried out by Fiennes, copies of old V5 registration documents and the current V5C, 18 MoT certificates covering (incompletely) the period from 1991 to 2012 when the car had covered 105,000 miles. In addition, 'DNU 105' comes with the original owner's handbook stamped with the chassis number by the factory, a rare 'condensed' version of the handbook, appropriate to the 1936 model year, a complete Derby Bentley Technical Manual, a bound edition of 'On The Road' magazines featuring photographs of the car on tour and many original photographs of it with the Ward family in the 1930s/1940s. The car is pictured on page 61 of 'Rolls-Royce – the Derby Bentleys' by Alec Harvey-Bailey. Also included in the sale is the original 'town' radiator cap, which was specified by the first owner, the one currently fitted is a genuine 1936 'Flying B' pressurised radiator cap and mascot.

Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each Lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. All registration numbers, engine and chassis details are sourced from registration documents provided to Historics by the client or representative or HPI checks and buyers are to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of these details. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.

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