During the late 1920s and early 1930s Bentley ran into grave financial trouble and by 1931 Rolls-Royce had stepped in and bought the assets and goodwill of the defunct company and formed a new one, Bentley Motors (1931) Ltd. Rolls-Royce had considered the Bentley marque to be a growing threat to their future success, but following their purchase decided to continue the Bentley name, albeit under their own stewardship, taking the company in an entirely new direction with the creation of the Silent Sports Car or Derby Bentley. In 1933 the new Bentley 3.5 Litre model was released and was an instant success. The combination of effortless power and style met with almost universal praise. It was powered by a developed twin carburettor version of Rolls-Royces own 20/25 model and was installed in a low 126 inch wheelbase chassis that basically remained unaltered until the cessation of production in 1939 due to the outbreak of hostilities. Synchromesh was present on third and fourth gears and the Derbys were fitted with a cross flow cylinder head and superb servo assisted brakes, encapsulating all of the perfection of Rolls-Royce engineering in this small sporting Bentley. Fitting of individual coachwork by approved body builders continued in true Rolls-Royce fashion giving potential buyers a great deal of choice in the look of their new motor car. 1936 saw further improvements with the introduction of the 4.25 Litre model when production of the 3.5 Litre unit ceased.
Chassis No B94JD which we are currently offering for sale was originally completed in April of 1937, bodied by Hooper to Design No 6871 which we believe to be unique. The stylish three position drophead coupe was delivered new to Mr Henry Vom Berge, an American understood to have been living in London, however the car was invoiced to his address in Paris France. It is understood that the car returned to London in 1939 when it was purchased by Mr Acland Geddes and then in the post war years it was owned by Mr R.E Rhodes of Shrewsbury from July 1946 and then by Mr George Tetlow of Leeds from February 1953. At some point following this, we believe Chassis No B94JD was bought and exported to the US, prior to its return to the UK in the early 1990’s when it was acquired by Victor Barclay, the Executive Chairman of Jack Barclay Ltd and son of the founder of the company in Berkeley Square in the heart of London.
The car was bought by the present owner in 1997 and has been improved further during his time. In 2003 the back axle was upgraded to allow higher cruising speeds in top gear, which was helpful on the BDC tour of South Africa that the car took part in that same year. In 2008 the coachwork was improved and most recently, in 2016/17 the engine was overhauled. All improvements were carried out by respected Bentley specialists with expenditure totaling around £100,000 for these works. Also, during this latest period of ownership, Chassis No B94JD has been shown at various concours events, winning seven different awards at RREC and BDC concours events between 2004 and 2009.
This extremely attractive and well sorted Derby Bentley comes with an extensive history file, original handbook and is ready for the next chapter in its life.
Good condition throughout
Four speed manual gearbox, 6 cylinder in-line engine, 4.25 litres displacement, 4257cc capacity. Servo-assisted brakes.