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Lot 137: Bentley 4 � Litre MX Sports Saloon

Fine Motor cars incl. The Jaguar Legend, Coys (14 July 2012)

Following Rolls-Royce's takeover of Bentley in 1933, the first new model had been the 3� Litre; it could be said to fit into the market really as a sporting version of the Rolls-Royce 20/25, utilising the shorter chassis of the stillborn smaller 1920s Rolls-Royce, code-named the Peregrine, fitted with a more powerful twin-carburettor version of the 20/25's six cylinder engine with a new crossflow cylinder head. Producing 105bhp and mated to a four-speed synchromesh transmission, the 3,699cc engine endowed the 3� Litre with 90mph plus performance. With typical marketing acumen this first of the Derby Bentleys was catchily marketed as 'The Silent Sports Car', and the label stuck.

For 1936 Derby enlarged the engine to 4,257ccacross the range, so that the Bentley now became the 4� Litre model. Retaining the 3� Litre's crossflow cylinder head, twin SU carburettors, twin fuel pumps and single coil ignition, power rose significantly to 126bhp, which allowed an almost 100mph maximum speed and notably improved acceleration.

Otherwise, the specification was much the same as the 3� Litre, i.e.; a separate chassis, complete with centralised lubrication system, employing leaf spring suspension and adjustable hydraulic shock absorbers front and rear with power-assisted brakes.

The reputation for speed and fine handling accorded the 3� Litre was even more enhanced with the 4� Litre and, as before, leading coachbuilders provided a variety of saloon, drop-head coup� and touring bodywork; around a third of customers, however, opted for Park Ward's saloon, this style being the closest Rolls-Royce came to series production pre-war. Few mechanical changes occurred during the 4� Litre's production life but of note was the introduction of the M Series with overdrive in October 1938. The extra gear ratio provided the latter with a top speed of 107mph and otherwise it differed in having 17 rather than 18 inch diameter wheels, uprated steering and fixed radiator shutters.

The Bentley 4� Litre sports saloon on offer here is a rare example of the last of the line, and most desirable, overdrive Derby Bentleys complete with factory sunroof. Delivered new in September 1939 to London Metal Products this is an unusual example of the Park Ward bodied sports saloon as it wears distinctive pontoon front wings and is featured in Bentley  The 1938/1939 Overdrive Cars by Melvyn Frankel and Ian Strang.

Recently repatriated from the USA, this Bentley has been in the hands of a well know US collector for over twenty years. The excellent bodywork is beautifully presented in the delightful colour combination of British Racing Green over Sage Green and the complementary beige leather interior is described as being in very nice condition with very good decorative woodwork and brightwork. Mechanically B83MX is described as running and driving very well.

The overdrive cars were the last Derby Bentleys produced before production halted for the Second World War and are highly prized amongst collectors. Supplied with UK V5 and current MoT certificate this distinctive and distinguished motor car is ready to be driven and enjoyed and is not to be missed.

Lot Details
Auction Fine Motor cars incl. The Jaguar Legend
Coys, Blenheim Palace,Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PX
Lot Number137
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£47000
Condition rating2
Registration number178 YUF
Chassis numberB83 MX
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors