Follow Motorbase:
Search Motorbase for

Lot 236: Bentley 3 litre  ex Capt. Woolf Barnato

Cars & Motorcycles, Historics at Brooklands (26 May 2012)

Bentley motorcars have always been built to be driven - this is as true today as it was in 1919 when W. O. Bentley designed the first vintage Bentley. The early history of Bentley was written on the racetracks with the spirit of the Bentley Boys who celebrated five magnificent Le Mans victories in the 1920's and 1930's. When Rolls-Royce bought Bentley Motors, they shut down production of the Vintage Bentley 8 litre and 4 litre and after careful consideration of what sort of car to build to carry on the Bentley name, 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. The new Derby Bentley was introduced to the press at the end of September 1933 and to the public at the Olympia Show, which followed soon after. The 3 litre Derby Bentley was designed to be the 'silent sports car,' and was marketed that way. Beautiful, sporting coachwork from the finest British and continental builders was mounted on the 3 litre chassis. While Rolls-Royce did not officially sanction racing, E. R. "Eddie" Hall raced his 3 litre with notable success in the Tourist Trophy races of 1934 and 1935 and received a great deal of help from the Experimental Department in doing so. This 3 litre Derby Bentley restoration project was first owned by original 'Bentley Boy' and former Chairman of Bentley Motors, Woolf 'Babe' Barnato. Heir to diamond magnate Barney Barnato, Woolf found fame as a three consecutive times winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1928 to 1930 and was rightly regarded by W.O. Bentley as 'the best driver we ever had'. Barnato is also synonymous with Brooklands, having won the Brooklands Six Hour Race and Double Twelve Race in 1930, as well as being a talented all-round sportsman; turning his hand to motor boat racing - including winning the 1925 Duke of York Trophy - amateur boxing, tennis and first-class cricket, in which he kept wicket for Surrey County Cricket Club between 1928 and 1930. The car was ordered by Jack Barclay for Woolf Barnato and the chassis was delivered to Park Ward coachworks on the 2nd February 1934 to be fitted with an all aluminium saloon body with the spare wheel mounted to the boot. The car was delivered on the 14th March 1934 and was supplied without a winged 'B' mascot; only with the town cap which is fitted to the original radiator. This Derby changed hands several times until the late 1960's when purchased by the vendor. After a couple of years' use the car started to overheat, and on discovering that the engine block was cracked, the vendor, a good automotive engineer himself, removed the engine and sent it away for repair. Sadly, between repair and collection, the engine 'disappeared' from the storage shed, and the car was never put back on the road. Unfortunately the car has not been stored very well but the chassis is complete although in need of repair before restoration. Supplied with the car are the carburetors, radiator and P100 headlights, together with most of the instruments and electric components although the rev. counter and speedo are missing. Over the years the paperwork for this car has gone missing but the chassis number is on a small plate mounted on the bonnet and the vendor has confirmed that the registration number matches the information archived with the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club and the Bentley Drivers Club. Also supplied with this restoration project are copies of the original chassis cards and build sheets supplied by the RREC.

Lot Details
Auction Cars & Motorcycles
Historics at Brooklands, Brooklands
Lot Number236
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£10920
Condition rating
Registration numberAXV721
Chassis numberB121AE
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors