London | Lot 160

1936 Bentley 4¼-Litre Drophead Coupé by Park Ward

£115,000 GBP | Sold

United Kingdom | Kensington, London, United Kingdom

24 October 2019

Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • Shown at the 1936 British International Motor Show at Olympia
  • Previously owned by Field Marshal Montgomery and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands
  • Nearly forty years of previous single ownership
  • Retains its original engine and coachwork

A new generation of Bentleys defined the marque in the 1930s, with the 4¼-Litre amongst the most beloved. By the mid-’30s the 3½-Litre Derby Bentley needed more capacity to reliably run at high speed on new continental roads.

After supercharging was rejected by W.O. Bentley, who road-tested the prototype, the engine was increased to 4,257 cc, its bearings upgraded, twin SU carburettors fitted, the compression ratio raised, and the camshaft reprofiled. Sales literature for the 1936 launch called it ‘The Silent Sportscar’, boasting its 96 mph top speed. Bentley chose Park Ward to offer saloon or Drophead Coupé coachwork. The 4¼-Litre gained a special place among Bentley enthusiasts, with many becoming family heirlooms and rarely changing hands, such as this lovely example.

The original Bill of Sale reveals that chassis no. B112HK was delivered to Park Ward’s factory in London, earmarked for the Rolls-Royce stand at the Olympia Motor Show in September of 1936. Most likely it sold at the show, as it was registered to Mr Tryon of North Green Farm in Suffolk in October 1936 with registration DGW 575. It then passed to Warwick Wright of Bond Street, London, in 1937 and then D.A Coutoubis of Knightsbridge in 1940.

It then had a significant wartime role: In 1941 the car was requisitioned for the use of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands—a wartime pilot, then part of the Allied planning effort in London. Painted black, it remained in use by Allied Forces and was subsequently allocated to none other than Field Marshal Montgomery. He bought the car in 1946 while chief of the Imperial General Staff.

In March 1952, Desmond Burleigh of Leeds became its longest custodian. He meticulously researched its history, retaining correspondence with Prince Bernhard and the Ministry of Defence. It was regularly shown and was known in Bentley circles until the early 1990s in his ownership. In 2004 it was acquired by a new owner in Spain and passed through one more Spanish owner before being acquired by the current custodian in 2007.

Today it retains the original coachwork with blue leather interior and carpets. It also retains its original engine and has been used sparingly in its current ownership. The last pre-war Bentleys are now firmly established as among the best of the marque, and the unique history of this example makes this car a very special opportunity. This is an amazing opportunity to acquire a Bentley at London Olympia…the same location where it was first shown to the public eighty-three years ago!

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