In the present family ownership for circa 75 years,1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B171AE Engine no. P7BK
Lot 335
1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Tourer
Coachwork by Park Ward Ltd Registration no. AYM 223 Chassis no. B171AE Engine no. P7BK
Sold for £85,500 (US$ 114,229) inc. premium

Lot Details
In the present family ownership for circa 75 years,1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B171AE Engine no. P7BK In the present family ownership for circa 75 years,1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B171AE Engine no. P7BK In the present family ownership for circa 75 years,1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B171AE Engine no. P7BK In the present family ownership for circa 75 years,1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B171AE Engine no. P7BK In the present family ownership for circa 75 years,1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B171AE Engine no. P7BK In the present family ownership for circa 75 years,1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B171AE Engine no. P7BK In the present family ownership for circa 75 years,1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B171AE Engine no. P7BK In the present family ownership for circa 75 years,1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B171AE Engine no. P7BK In the present family ownership for circa 75 years,1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B171AE Engine no. P7BK In the present family ownership for circa 75 years,1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B171AE Engine no. P7BK
In the present family ownership for circa 75 years
1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Tourer
Coachwork by Park Ward Ltd

Registration no. AYM 223
Chassis no. B171AE
Engine no. P7BK

Footnotes

  • '...the ability to traverse the rapidly crowding roads of Great Britain in less time, and with less, effort were points strong in its favour.' Johnny Green on the 3½-Litre, Bentley, 50 Years of the Marque.

    Although Rolls-Royce's acquisition of Bentley Motors in 1931 robbed the latter of its independence, it did at least ensure the survival of the Bentley name. Launched at Ascot in August 1933, the first of the 'Derby Bentleys', as they would come to be known, continued the marque's sporting associations but in a manner even more refined than before. Even W O Bentley himself acknowledged that the 3½-Litre model was the finest ever to bear his name. Based on the contemporary Rolls-Royce 20/25hp, the 3½-Litre Bentley was slightly shorter in the wheelbase and employed a tuned (115bhp) twin-SU-carburettor version of the former's overhead-valve six. 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 sportscar performance in almost absolute silence. 'The Silent Sports Car', as it was swiftly dubbed, had few peers as a tireless long-distance tourer, combining as it did traditional Rolls-Royce refinement with Bentley performance and handling.

    The Derby Bentley was, of course, an exclusively coachbuilt automobile and as befitted its sporting nature was almost always fitted with owner-driver saloon or drophead coupé coachwork, the 'standard' designs being the work of Park Ward. Of the 2,442 examples manufactured (including the subsequent 4¼-Litre model) almost 50% were bodied by Park Ward.

    Chassis number 'B171AE' though, was originally bodied with tourer coachwork by Whittingham & Mitchel, being delivered in May 1934 to its first owner, Captain Eric Burt, the famed Brooklands Racer. The Park Ward body has been in place since at least the late 1930s when the Bentley came into the ownership of the vendor's family. Accompanying copy chassis cards show that the Bentley was with Jack Barclay Ltd in March 1935, and there is a hand written note concerning the 'front axle and 2 front springs', so it is possible that it had met with an accident requiring not only the replacement of those components but also the original body. In 1935 the car was pictured at Le Mans fitted with 19" wheels. It features in Johnnie Green's book 'Bentley, 50 Years of the Marque' (pages 171 and 192).

    The next owner listed is one Boughton-Leigh Esq (July 1935) followed by A M Mitchell Esq (September 1935) and then Nigel Fitzroy Esq (November 1936). A letter on file dated January 1998 and written by the late owner, aviation heritage pioneer Sir William 'Willie' Roberts, states that he believed the car was purchased from Mr Fitzroy by his father's cousin, Mr (later Sir) Cecil Ackroyd in the late 1930s. Sir Willie's father, Sir James D Roberts, purchased 'AYM 223' from Cecil Ackroyd in the mid-1950s. The 'A Roberts Esq' listed on the chassis card as owner from 20th August 1958 is Sir Willie's brother, who died in 1992. Sir Willie states that, at time of writing, the Bentley had been at the family home, Strathallan Castle, for 40-plus years.

    In 1997 the car was sent to Classic Restorations of Alyth, Perthshire for extensive mechanical works. Detailed in an email printout on file, these consisted of fitting new kingpins and related bearings and bushes; refurbishing the wire-spoked road wheels; fitting new tyres, tubes and rim bands; fitting new steering ball pins and steering arm cups; replacing engine gaskets, etc; and fitting new wiper blades and arms at a cost of £4,010.85+VAT. The electrics were rewired at the same time. Last run in 2006, 'AYM 223' will require re-commissioning before returning to the road. The car is offered with the aforementioned documentation, additional correspondence, old-style logbook, expired MoT (2005) and V5 registration document.
Activities
Auction information

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