1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD

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Lot 212
1938 Bentley 4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé
Coachwork by by James Young Registration no. FGW 390 Chassis no. B72MR Engine no. L4BD

Sold for £ 87,400 (US$ 118,733) inc. premium
1938 Bentley 4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé
Coachwork by by James Young

Registration no. FGW 390
Chassis no. B72MR
Engine no. L4BD
• One of only three Bentley 4¼-Litre 'overdrive' chassis with this body style
• Known ownership history
• Extensively restored during the late 1990s
• With the present owner (a longstanding BDC member) since 2017


Footnotes

  • 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 the 3½-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 a four-speed gearbox (with synchromesh on the top three gears) 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, 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 gear-change 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 1938. The overdrive transmission enabled the car to cruise at a relaxed 2,800rpm at 75mph, rather than the somewhat frenetic 3,450 revs that earlier models had needed to reach a similar speed. Lighter steering, achieved by the adoption of a Marles steering box in place of the earlier worm-and-nut type, was another feature first seen on the overdrive model. The result was one of the most pleasing of pre-war touring cars. Chassis 'B2MR' was the first example of this most desirable version of the 4¼-litre model, making this lovely car the 36th of the series. Only 202 were produced and most boasted a top speed of over 100mph in spite of weighing over 1½ tons.

    With its 4¼-litre engine, overdrive gearbox and unique James Young coachwork, 'B72MR' represents the Derby Bentley in its ultimate and most desirable incarnation. This car's Sedanca Coupé body is attributed to the great A F McNeil, arguably the most influential British coachwork designer of the inter-war years, who had joined James Young from Gurney Nutting in 1937 when it became part of the Jack Barclay group. James Young fitted this type of body to only three 'overdrive' chassis: 'B72MR', 'B86MR' and 'B97MX'. 'B72MR' was supplied new to George Sinclair Brodrick Esq on 15th November 1938. Just twenty-three years of age at the time, George Brodrick was the grandson of controversial American railroad magnate and financial speculator Jason 'Jay' Gould, once the world's richest man.

    Born in New York, George Brodrick served with the Irish Guards during WW2, in later life was awarded an MBE, and died in December 2003 in Basingstoke, Hampshire, aged 87. His obituary in The Telegraph observed that he "mixed dangerous cocktails" and "went up to Trinity, Cambridge, where he arrived in his Bentley accompanied by his chauffeur. An impoverished young gentleman attended all the lectures on his behalf and provided him with a comprehensive set of notes three weeks before his Finals, which he sailed through".

    In November 1940, George Brodrick sold the Bentley back to Jack Barclay. The car is known to have belonged subsequently to P B Cow Ltd; Harold Radford & Co Ltd; Mrs Howard Sneyd; and Messrs Basil Roy Ltd before passing in February 1961 to Major P R J Everidge, FRCS, OBE. Used extensively for continental touring by Major Everidge, 'B72MR' had its original engine overhauled in November 1984 (at an indicated 84,584 miles) by G Ashley Carter of Dorchester, Oxfordshire.

    While owned by noted collector/dealer C A R Howard, 'B72MR' was featured in Rétroviseur magazine and subsequently in his autobiography. Fellow dealer Gregor Fisken was the Bentley's next owner, followed by Hugh Boucher of Sittingbourne, Kent. While the car was owned by Mr Boucher, Derby Bentley specialists Blackmore Engineering refurbished the suspension, heater, wiring, and dynamo, etc, these works being carried out in January 1997. The following month, '72MR' went to James E Pearce Specialist Coachbuilders who fitted flashing indicators, re-hung the doors, and treated the car to cosmetic refreshment. Further improved by Sargeants of Goudhurst during August of that year (at an indicated 92,733 miles), the Bentley was serviced and some two years later was sold via Frank Dale & Stepsons to collector J W ten Ham in the Netherlands.

    In 2016, Frank Dale & Stepsons brought 'B72MR' back to the UK and retrieved its original registration, 'FGW 390'. Shortly thereafter the car was sold to the immediately preceding owner, a lifelong Bentley enthusiast, who commissioned acknowledged expert Ken Lee to undertake a through inspection. A new pipe for the ride control pump was fitted and a full service carried out.

    A Bentley Drivers' Club member for over 50 years, the present owner purchased the car at a UK auction in July 2017, since when it has been maintained by him and his mechanics. Age is the reason for the sale (his, not the car's) plus the need to downsize the collection. The accompanying history file contains a V5C Registration Certificate plus numerous invoices from the aforementioned specialists and any others.
Contacts
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
1938  Bentley  4¼-Litre Sedanca Coupé   Chassis no. B72MR  Engine no. L4BD
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