The ex-Earls Courts Motor Show,1938 Bentley 4¼-Litre 'High Vision' Sports Saloon  Chassis no. B28MR Engine no. C6BM
Lot 349
The ex-Earls Courts Motor Show, 1938 Bentley 4¼-Litre 'High Vision' Sports Saloon
Registration no. 943 XUE Chassis no. B28MR Engine no. C6BM
Sold for £69,333 (US$ 118,239) inc. premium
Lot Details
The ex-Earls Courts Motor Show
1938 Bentley 4¼-Litre 'High Vision' Sports Saloon
Coachwork by H J Mulliner

Registration no. 943 XUE
Chassis no. B28MR
Engine no. C6BM


  • By the end of the 1930s the 'Derby' Bentley, introduced towards the beginning of that decade following the firm's take-over by Rolls-Royce, 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 1938. Refinement, reliability and effortless long-distance cruising were hallmarks of the coveted overdrive-equipped 'M' series. Only some 200-or-so were produced during 1938/39 and all are most highly regarded today.

    With its 4¼-litre engine and overdrive gearbox, 'B28MR' represents the Derby Bentley in its ultimate and most desirable incarnation. Handsomely finished in two-tone grey metallic and silver, it carries owner-driver sports saloon coachwork in 'High Vision' style by H J Mulliner featuring the distinctive glazed roof panels and deep side windows that give this rare and exclusive limited edition model its name. 'B28MR' was completed in October 1938 and exhibited on H J Mulliner's stand at that year's Earls Court Motor Show. First owned by Douglas William Turner of Wellington Tube Holdings Ltd, it is pictured (wearing wheel spats) in Johnnie Green's book 'Bentley - 50 Years of the Marque' (page 219) and also in Frankel & Strang's 'Bentley: the 1938/1939 Overdrive Cars'. The original UK registration was 'FGT 867'.

    In 1965 the Bentley was sold by its then owner Sir Herbert Manzoni to a Mr C C Evans, who sold it on in 1973 and the following year the car was imported into South Africa by a Mr C Witte-Vermuelen. The Bentley became a well known car is South Africa where it was maintained by the Rolls-Royce agents in Johannesburg, Grosvenor Motors Limited.

    The current vendor advised the previous owner, Mr G W H Relly, Chairman of Anglo American, South Africa's largest mining group, to purchase the car from Mr Witte-Vermuelen in 1977. He then purchased it from Mr Relly in 1992. Since acquisition by the vendor the Bentley has been extensively restored (detailed records and invoices available). Works carried out the course of this long-term renovation include a bare metal re-spray in its current livery; new interior in pale grey Connolly hide, Wilton carpeting and grey West of England cloth; and a complete electrical rewire with the correct harness. In 2005 'B28MR' won a concours prize at the South African Rolls-Royce and Bentley Owners' Club show.

    More recently, a no-expense-spared extensive mechanical service and refurbishment has been undertaken by renowned marque specialists A&S Engineering including a new clutch; renewal of all rubbers; restoration of all instruments and trafficators; and overhauls of the gearbox, suspension, steering, cooling and one-shot lubrication systems. New tyres have been fitted and we are advised that anything else that could possibly need doing has been done.

    The car comes with its original fitted tool kit (in the boot lid), original owner's handbook and all loose tools (jack, etc) and is described as in outstanding all round condition. It is reported to run and drive superbly, just as one would expect following such a meticulous and thorough refurbishment. A fine example of the Derby Bentley, 'B28MR' is offered with the aforementioned restoration records, copy build sheet, current MoT/tax and UK V5 registration document.

Saleroom notices

  • Since the publication of the catalogue, further information has been provided within the extensive history file including over £85,000 of restoration invoices from 2007-2013 (updated text can be found online). Close inspection of the history file would be highly recommended.
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