Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF

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Lot 239
1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater

Sold for £ 104,540 (US$ 135,100) inc. premium
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing
1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater
Coachwork by Shapecraft

Registration no. JR 5544
Chassis no. B186HK
Engine no. D5BF
*Rebuilt as a competition car in the late 1980s
*Extensively campaigned in VSCC and BDC events
*Podium finisher at Le Mans in 2006
*Well known and well documented

Footnotes

  • In Bob Gilbert's ownership for the last 33 years, chassis number 'B186HK' was originally completed by Park Ward as a four-door sports saloon and first registered on 27th October 1936. The last evidence of its full road use is an MoT certificate dated 28th April 1965. After that the car was left in an orchard in Wythall near Birmingham for 18 years. It was acquired by the present owner on 28th March 1983.

    The Bentley was in a very sorry state and was completely beyond restoration in its then condition. At the same time a friend and colleague of the present owner acquired a similar car in a similar state. With the help of much loved and much missed VSCC member Mr Bruce Spollon (subsequently the Club's President) work started on building two identical cars with the aim of competing in VSCC and other historic racing events. The other car was subsequently sold to a German competitor who reputedly wrote it off at the Nürburgring.

    The aim was to build cars that were both beautiful and looked the part, and the 'bare metal' restoration of 'JR 5544', which is fully documented and photographed, took some six years to complete. The car retains its original engine, gearbox and drive-train while incorporating minor modifications as suggested by Rusty Russ-Turner in an article in the VSCC bulletin. Hass Motorsport completely rebuilt the engine.

    Chassis modifications involved a reduction in wheelbase of 10", while the front and rear track were widened by 1½" and 2" respectively. The original-pattern lever-type shock absorbers were retained, as were the standard drum brakes, though the original lever/rod mechanism was replaced by a twin-circuit hydraulic system.

    A most attractive and stylish aluminium two-seater body was produced by Shapecraft of Northampton to Mr Gilbert's design and specification, using the original cast bulkhead and reconstructing the engine cover and bonnet around the original item. The car was granted a VSCC eligibility certificate in August 1991.

    'JR 5544' was subsequently campaigned extensively in VSCC hill climbs and race meetings by Bob Gilbert, being always very competitive and much admired. Over the years it has been considerably modified as a racing car, although it is still road registered and road legal. The modifications include 2" SU carburettors, gas-flowed stainless steel inlet and exhaust manifolds and, finally, the installation of a set of 'Scalded Cat' cast pistons similar to those used in the works Bentley 4¼-Litre that was driven by Eddie Hall into 3rd place at Le Mans in 1936. These pistons gave very high compression and the original cylinder head did not last long under their onslaught. A new cylinder head was specially manufactured by Bentley specialists, Fiennes Engineering. The car has since been extremely quick and trouble-free.

    'JR 5544' has competed extensively in VSCC and Bentley Drivers' Club events, nearly always being in the top three of any race in which it competed and often winning. It was also part of the winning team for two successive years in the VSCC's endurance race at Donington Park.

    This car is featured in Ray Roberts' book 'Bentley Specials and Special Bentleys'. Despite competing, the car regularly won the BDC's Concours d'Élégance prize at its annual race meeting, and on many occasions won the award for the car BDC members would most like to take home.

    The car's last major competitive outing was in 2006 when it was invited to run in the 100th Anniversary race at Le Mans where, fittingly, it repeated the result of the works entry driven by Eddie Hall in 1936 by finishing 3rd and on the podium.

    The car comes complete with a photocopy workshop manual and all the special Bentley tools to remove the hubs and access the brakes. It has two complete sets of 16"x5J wheels shod with Dunlop racing tyres, and a set of original (and virtually brand-new) 20" wheels also shod with Dunlop racing tyres, which were used to raise the gearing to enable it to compete successfully at Le Mans.

    'JR 5544' has VSCC eligibility papers and an FIA passport (which will require renewal) making it eligible to race in many historic events overseas. Numerous photographs exist of its original restoration and competition outings together with all the original documentation relating to expenditure on the car over the years of the current ownership.
Contacts
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
Property of R M 'Bob' Gilbert; highly successful historic racing,1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. B186HK Engine no. D5BF
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