When Rolls-Royce took over Bentley Motors in 1931 they prudently decided to abandon the W O Bentley-designed models and launch a new range of cars. The much-heralded 3 1/2 litre Silent Sports Car was launched in 1933 following a somewhat rushed development and testing programme but it was not to disappoint. High acclaim indeed came from W O Bentley himself who declared, having driven the new car, taking all things into consideration, I would rather own this Bentley than any car produced under that name.
Famous names from the motor industry including such notables as Leonard Lord of the Austin Motor Co., Capt. Archie Frazer-Nash, Gordon Sutherland of Aston Martin and C A Vandervell were to select Bentley motor cars. However, more importantly, celebrity racing drivers who fully understood the importance of fine engineering, unstressed high performance and immaculate handling selected the Bentley as their favoured road transport. These included such public heroes as Sir Malcolm Campbell, Woolf Barnato, Billy Cotton, Arthur Dobson, Raymond Mays, Tim Rose-Richards, Prince Bira and the original owner of B24DG, Capt. George Eyston.
Like so many contemporaries, Eystons passion for motor sport had been nurtured as a junior spectator at the Brooklands track. Graduating from cloth-cap-reversed motorcycle racing to motor cars, his early activities involved racing Aston Martins. He was later to win the Brooklands Gold Cup and Gold Vase driving a Bugatti and the British Empire Trophy in an MG, a marque with which he was later to be closely associated. Other marques with which he gained notable successes included Panhard-Levassor, Sunbeam and OM. Record breaking was however Eystons passion and notable records included 120mph driving MG Magic Midget in December 1932. Three years later at the wheel of his 25 litre Rolls-Royce-engined Speed of the Wind he averaged 140.52mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats over 24 hours and in 1937 he steered the massive 73 litre, twin aero-engined, six-wheeled Thunderbolt to a World Land Speed Record of 312mph, subsequently in September 1938 raising the record yet again to 357.5mph. Eystons records continued in the post-war era and indeed he was engaged by MG to mastermind all of their record attempts throughout the 1950s.
Eystons choice of a 3 1/2 litre Bentley as his road transport was no accident, he recognising fully the qualities of the Silent Sports Car and engaging Jarvis of Wimbledon to create the elegant two-seater body. Eyston recalls, The idea was to have a high speed vehicle which could be used for carrying forgings and other precious material needed for a projected front wheel drive car destined for World Long Distance Record Breaking on the Bonneville Salt Flats
I well remember clocking up some 24,000 miles on the road in less than a year. My Rolls-Bentley had a long life and was still in its original form when I spotted it in London many years after the Second World War.
Jarvis of Wimbledon worked closely with Abbey Coachworks, subcontracting much of their work to this respected company. It was they who created the coachwork on B24DG to the requirements of Capt. Eyston, with a capacious rear boot. The new car was distinctively painted in silver livery with red wings and, when illustrated in Eystons biography Safety Last, the caption read, If this comes by, dont bother to try to catch it. It is George Eystons new Bentley. In June 1936 Eyston had the original engine upgraded to the latest type engine no.A3BG
Following Eystons ownership the car was owned by Sir Clive Edwards in 1938, W S Windsor-Richards in 1947, both notable names in motoring circles, and in 1955 by J F Harrison in Derby. B24DG was acquired by noted car collector Victor Crabb almost 40 years ago. This historic car was to original specification in all major respects and Victor Crabb embarked upon the most detailed restoration, leaving no stone unturned in either the mechanical, coachwork or cosmetic areas and choosing the most respected restorers to execute the restoration. Bills on file indicate that the restoration commenced in 1983 and was finally completed in 1990, much of the work being entrusted to Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist, Colin Hustwayte. The car has subsequently remained in Victor Crabbs family and has been regularly used and meticulously maintained during this long family ownership.
B24DG is now superbly presented in white livery with navy blue leather upholstery, carpets and weather equipment. The car is equipped with twin Lucas horns and centre spot lamp, blade bumpers front and rear and metal-encased, rear-mounted spare wheel. This elegant car comes with a good history file including references to many standard works and publications in which the car is featured. This unique Bentley with exceptional provenance is offered with current licence, MoT certificate and Swansea V5 registration document, together with copies of the original Factory Build Sheets.