1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX

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Lot 145
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer
Coachwork by Crailville Ltd in the style of Vanden Plas Registration no. 33 MX Chassis no. B-7-MX

Sold for £ 163,300 (US$ 205,583) inc. premium
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer
Coachwork by Crailville Ltd in the style of Vanden Plas

Registration no. 33 MX
Chassis no. B-7-MX
*The ultimate expression of pre-war motoring refinement
*Desirable M-series overdrive model
*Original engine
*Present ownership since 1970
*Professional restoration completed in the late 1990s
*Extensive history files

Footnotes

  • 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 Grande Routière, improvements which coincided with the introduction of the 'M' series cars in 1939. Refinement, reliability, and effortless long-distance cruising (3,000 revs equates to 78mph) were hallmarks of the coveted overdrive-equipped 'M' series. Only some 200-or-so were produced during 1939 and all are most highly regarded today.

    With its 4¼-litre engine, overdrive gearbox, and Vanden Plas-style touring body, 'B-7-MX' represents the Derby Bentley in its ultimate and most desirable incarnation. Copy factory chassis cards on file indicate that this original Bentley 4¼-Litre was fitted with engine number 'K-9-BE', which it retains. Completed by the Derby works and put on test on 17th February 1939, the rolling chassis was sent to Park Ward one week later and fitted with a four-door, four-light, saloon body. The completed car was finally tested on 2nd May 1939 and despatched to Rossleigh Ltd in Edinburgh where it was employed as a demonstrator, registered 'CWS 1'. It is believe to be the first overdrive model sent to Scotland. The accompanying extensive history files are particularly worthy of inspection, and the car also comes with a V5C registration document.

    An early continuation buff logbook shows that by 1949 the Bentley was with Jack Barclay Ltd in Hanover Square, London. Subsequent owners are listed, and in 1954 the car was reregistered as 'FWG 135'. The current owner purchased this MX-series Bentley from Mr Beeman Honess of Kent in the early 1970s. By this stage the car was a non-runner, but the underpinnings were thought to be quite solid and ripe for restoration. The entire car was carefully dismantled and the engine and many mechanical components sent off to various specialists such as Fiennes Restoration Ltd and S Brunt Ltd, with related invoices on file for engine rebuild work and numerous parts. At the time of restoration the original body was beyond economical repair; it was set aside and is included in the sale of the car. A new body was constructed by Crailville Ltd of Southall to replicate the extremely rare and sought-after sports touring coachwork by Vanden Plas, as ordered originally by the likes of Sir Malcolm Campbell.

    The restoration was completed in the late 1990s and the car reregistered as 'MX 33,' a rather nice number for an MX-series car. The current owner and his wife have enjoyed the 'MX' exactly as its maker intended, completing many trouble-free touring miles on the continent, the overdrive allowing for comfortable cruising speeds much as it would have done when new. Sold only due to the owner's advancing years, this fine Derby Bentley offers the ultimate in Grand Touring comfort and style.
Contacts
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
1939 Bentley 4¼-Litre Tourer  Chassis no. B-7-MX
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