1934 Bentley 3.5-Litre Vanden Plas-style Tourer
Registration no. BUL 16
Chassis no. B17CW
Engine no. G28YL29
Derby Bentley chassis number B17CW began life bodied as a four-door sports saloon by Arthur Mulliner and was sold new to Arthur Sainsbury (fourth son of the retailing dynastys founder) by dealer Jack Olding of North Audley Street, Mayfair and registered BUL 16. The vehicle is believed to have remained with Arthur Sainsbury until circa August 1939 when it passed - via dealer Jack Barclay Ltd - into the ownership of gentleman farmer W B Wright Esq, of Whaplode, Lincolnshire who kept it throughout the war years. In 1946 B17CW was acquired by S W Garbutt, a Stourbridge-based brush manufacturer, whose family kept the car for the next decade. Its succeeding owner was a Wolverhampton firm of insurance brokers, but subsequently the car vanished from view, eventually resurfacing in 1971 at Sherwood Restorations.
It would appear that the original body was removed at around this time, as in 1978 Sherwoods proprietor Alan Wragg sold the freshly restored chassis and running gear to Derbyshire farmer Max Mason. Mason moved the car to Tony Robinsons North Stables establishment where work on the replica Vanden Plas-style tourer coachwork commenced. Some six years later, by which time North Stables had become the Oxford Carriage Co, around 1,200 hours had been spent fabricating the as yet unfinished coachwork at a cost of more than £8,000. His enthusiasm exhausted, Mason sold the car to antique dealer George Cresswell who had it transported to restorers David Scott-Moncrieff & Sons for assessment. While at the latters Staffordshire premises B17CW was purchased by industrialist Roy Hatfield who despatched it to Ristes Motors where the coachwork was completed under the supervision of Steve Lovatt. The body was re-finished with 16 coats of Rolls-Royce Georgian Silver metallic over Dark Oyster and the interior trimmed in finest grey leather and Wilton carpeting. After the mechanicals had been treated to a precautionary overhaul, the car was submitted for MoT testing on 29th October 1986.
Following a successful debut at the Bentley Drivers Club Kensington Gardens Concours in 1987, where it was much admired, B17CW was returned to Ristes later that same year to be fitted with a higher-ratio final drive. The road wheels were refurbished at the same time, bringing Hatfields total expenditure with Ristes to in excess of £30,000. Captivated by a Gurney Nutting-bodied 4.25-Litre, Hatfield sold B17CW in August 1988 to London accountant Phillip Edwards for £53,000. In need of extra legroom, Edwards commissioned Ristes to raise the steering column and deepen the drivers footwell, and had the car equipped with side-screens and an under-tray at a cost approaching £3,000.
B17CWs next owner was none other than noted motoring historian and motorsport commentator Simon Taylor, who acquired it in May 1990. Taylor subsequently loaned the car to The Crewe Experience exhibition at the Rolls-Royce and Bentley factory, where it attracted the attention of the vendor who purchased it in 2000. While in present ownership the car has been treated to a full re-spray at Bentley Motors Heritage Centre - in recognition of its contribution to The Crewe Experience - and given a thorough check over by Steve Lovatt. The latter work, costing £21,000, included a brake, suspension and clutch overhaul. Presented in very good condition throughout and driving like a Derby Bentley should, B17CW is worthy of the closest inspection. The vehicle is offered with two bound volumes of invoices, Bentley Motors photo album of the car at The Crewe Experience, photographs of the re-spray, road fund licence/MoT to April 2005 and Swansea V5 registration document.