1935 Bentley 4.25-Litre Special
Lot 432
1935 Bentley 41/4-Litre Competition Special Chassis no. B42DG Engine no. S9BR
Sold for £78,500 (US$ 131,944) inc. premium
Lot Details
1935 Bentley 41/4-Litre Competition Special
Registration no. BUV 935
Chassis no. B42DG
Engine no. S9BR


  • Although Rolls-Royce's acquisition of Bentley Motors in 1931 had robbed the latter of its independence, it did at least ensure the survival of the Bentley name. Launched in 1933, the first of what would become known as the 'Derby' Bentleys continued the marque's sporting associations but in a manner even more refined than before. Even W O Bentley himself acknowledged that the3½-Litre model was the finest ever to bear his name.
    Based on the contemporary Rolls-Royce 20/25, the 3½-Litre Bentley was slightly shorter in the wheelbase at 10' 6" and employed a tuned (115bhp), twin-SU-carburettor version of the former's 3,669cc overhead-valve six-cylinder engine. Add to this already remarkable package an all-synchromesh four-speed gearbox and servo assisted brakes, and the result was a vehicle offering the driver effortless high performance in almost absolute silence. 'The Silent Sports Car', 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.
    By the end of the 1930s the 'Derby' Bentley had undergone a number of significant developments, not the least of which was an increase in bore size in 1936 that upped the capacity to 4,257cc, a move that coincided with the adoption of superior Hall's Metal bearings. This new engine was shared with the equivalent Rolls-Royce - the 25/30hp - and as had been the case with the preceding 3½-Litre model, enjoyed a superior specification in Bentley form, boasting twin SU carburettors, raised compression ratio and a more 'sporting' camshaft. Thus the new 4¼-Litre model offered more power than before while retaining the well-proven chassis with its faultless gearchange and servo-assisted brakes.
    It was the construction of modern highways in Continental Europe, enabling cars to travel at sustained high speeds, that had prompted the introduction of the Hall's Metal bearings and would lead eventually to the adoption of on an 'overdrive' gearbox and improved lubrication system on Bentley's peerless Grand Routier, improvements which coincided with the introduction of the 'M'-series cars in 1939.
    The Derby Bentley was, of course, an exclusively coachbuilt automobile. Of the 2,442 manufactured, almost 50 percent were bodied by Park Ward in a limited number of styles and this example was originally bodied by them as a standard saloon. 'BUV 935' was converted into a short chassis competition car circa 1966 and campaigned in VSCC and BDC events over many years by Ron Dowle. Much development was carried out on the car during the 1970s and 1980s including the installation of a supercharger, most of the work being done by Derby Bentley specialist, Barry Summerfield. 'BUV 935' was acquired by Robert Harley in the early 2000s and has continued to benefit from the constant maintenance and development necessitated by racing, and in 2003 was completely rewired by Blake & Teague. While in the present ownership much work has been undertaken on the engine, chassis, body, brakes, etc by John Densham, amounting to a complete rebuild at a cost of circa £27,000 (invoices on file). Over £3,000 was spent in circa 2009 on further work and that same year 'BUV 935' won the Bentley Handicap race at the BDC's Silverstone meeting in August. Accompanying documentation includes a VSCC buff form (2004), Swansea V5 document, current MoT and a substantial quantity of invoices, race results, correspondence, etc.
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