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Lot 08: Bentley 4.25 Litre Vanden Plas Pillarless Saloon

Cars, H&H Sales Limited (16 June 2012)

It is a sobering thought. Had Rolls-Royce not purchased its financially troubled competitor Bentley in 1931, the world would have been denied the Continental, Turbo R, Mulsanne and countless other iconic models subsequently graced with the 'Flying B'. Of particular loss for many, would have been the coachbuilt Derby Bentleys manufactured between 1933 and 1939. Their chassis was derived from an experimental supercharged 2.75-litre Rolls-Royce (codenamed Peregrine) that never saw the light of day, and power came from a redesigned and tuned version of the company's 20/25 engine, initially of 3.5-litres (3669cc). Fed by a pair of SU carburettors, the unit drove through a single dry-plate clutch to a four-speed manual gearbox containing synchromesh on the top two ratios. The suspension was by semi-elliptic springs all-round and braking by servo assisted drums. The newcomer was introduced to the public in the appropriate surroundings of Ascot in the August of 1933, and production of these 3.5-litre cars continued into 1937; by which time 1,191 examples had been produced. The last year's allocation was manufactured alongside the incoming 4.25-litre (4257cc) version that would ultimately supersede the 3.5-litre cars. The final iteration of the model was the MX of 1939, the updated specification of which included overdrive, making a fine touring car even more appropriate for the continental cruising so popular with Bentley owners of the period. A total of 1,241 4.25-litre variants were produced. Coachbuilders and body styles were the preserve of the customer and the following are just a few of the carrozzerias engaged to clothe these fine cars: Park Ward, Barker, Vanden Plas, Thrupp & Maberly, Gurney Nutting, H.J. Mulliner, Hooper, James Young and Arthur Mulliner. This notably elegant example - chassis number B127JY - was bodied as a Pillarless Sports Saloon by the renowned coachbuilder Vanden Plas and supplied new to C.J. Donada Esq. of Dean Street, London on March 1st 1937. Managing Director of the County Cinemas chain, Mr Donada also owned a De Havilland Gipsy Moth aeroplane at around the same time. Following eight further keepers, 'DXW 666' was purchased by marque specialists Frank Dale & Stepsons who carried out a major refurbishment that included (a) an overhaul of the rear axle, (b) the refinishing of the bodywork from its original Opaline Gunmetal Grey to the current most appealing Coffee Bean Brown over Ivory and (c) a complementary interior retrim. After twelve years in the hands of Jean Gorjat Esq. of Harrow-on-the Hill, the Bentley passed to Owen Corrigan Esq. of Hartlepool during May 1996. Choosing to have his new acquisition's paintwork, leather upholstery and interior woodwork refreshed, Mr Corrigan was rewarded a year later with a second-in-class finish at the RREC's National Rally & Concours d'Elegance. The vendor - a retired aeronautical engineer - has owned the Bentley since December 1997, since when he has invested considerably in its upkeep with Coldwell Engineering of Sheffield, Fiennes Restoration of Clanfield, Oxon and Silver Chalice Motor Services of Sheffield. The main activity has included: the fitting of a new cylinder block and aluminium alloy cylinder head; crankshaft regrind; new pistons, main bearing and big end shells and small end bushes; the overhaul of the crankshaft and camshaft dampers; the balancing of the engine; the replacement of the nearside swivel pin and the overhaul of the chassis lubrication system. Proof of the Bentley's condition lies in the Best in Show award it collected during the RREC's August 2006 North of England Rally at Harewood House. A truly lovely example, it comes complete with working sunroof, fitted luggage, tool kit, extensive history file (including continuation buff log book), selection of old MOTs and one valid into March next year.

Lot Details
Auction Cars
H&H Sales Limited, Rockingham Castle
Lot Number08
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£48160
Condition rating1
Registration numberDXW 666
Chassis numberB127JY
Engine numberT2BR
Engine capacity (cc)4257
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors