1935 Bentley 3.5-Litre Drophead Coupé Coachwork by H J Mulliner Registration no. BLX 124 Chassis no. B72AH Engine no. G4BT
Although Rolls-Royces acquisition of Bentley Motors in 1931 robbed the latter of its independence, it did at least ensure the survival of the Bentley name. Launched in 1933, the first of the Derby Bentleys, as they would come to be known, continued the marques sporting associations but in a manner even more refined than before. Even W O Bentley himself acknowledged that the 3.5 -Litre model was the finest ever to bear his name. The Silent Sportscar, as it was quickly dubbed, had few peers as a tireless long-distance tourer, combining as it did traditional Rolls-Royce refinement with Bentley performance and handling. As befitted its sporting nature, the Derby Bentley was almost always fitted with owner-driver saloon or drophead coupé coachwork, the example offered here being bodied by H J Mulliner. RREC records show that chassis number B27AH is one of only four drophead coupés bodied by H J Mulliner within the chassis series B2AH to B198AH (99 cars). BLX 124 was acquired in January 1958 by previous owner Bill Heddon, a friend of W O Bentley with whom he played golf. Heddons wife Daphne used the car as everyday transport until 1964, when it was laid up and garaged. The vendor purchased the car in May 1990 and commenced a five-year meticulous restoration of the engine, all running gear and coachwork. The body was removed from the chassis, stripped to bare metal and professionally repaired before being re-sprayed in Brewster Green. The original upholstery and door trim panels were renovated by Connolly Brothers, of Wimbledon and the carpets manufactured by Wilton to the original pattern. Re-wiring was carried out using the correct period cable, all instruments were professionally rebuilt, the radiator re-cored and the brightwork re-plated. Since restoration the car has seen very little use and remains in generally good condition. In may of this year it underwent further refurbishment at Fiennes Restorations in Little Clanfield, Oxfordshire, there being related bills on file totalling £6,000 for fitting new kingpins, rebuilding the steering box, general servicing, MoT test, etc. The vehicle is offered with a file of sundry restoration documentation and invoices, old-style logbook, an original handbook, Swansea V5 registration document and fresh MoT.