Serial number B-75-LE, engine number A5BH. Thoroughly documented Derby Bentley with excellent ownership history and frame-off restoration in the 1990s. Fantastic high-speed tour car ready to enjoy!
This particular Bentley 4-door saloon was a catalog model with a body by Park Ward, long a Rolls-Royce partner in the finest tradition. Sweeping fenders, a hood that appears to be as long as a city block, and a handsome bustle-back trunk with rear-mounted spare make the car look as if it's in motion, pushing forwards against the wind. This car received a comprehensive frame-off restoration that included a bare-metal respray in the 1990s, and the complementary two-tone beige and cream coachwork highlights the subtle elegance of the design. Among its many wonderful features are a sliding sunroof, massive Bentley headlights and a traditional chrome grille with Flying B hood ornament, and retractable trafficators in the B-pillars, pre-dating Buick's adoption of turn signals in the US in 1939. All four doors close with a reassuringly solid THUNK, the hood swings on well-oiled hinges, and the car feels robust as it goes down the road. All the chrome trim, and there's a surprising amount of it, was refinished to show standards and still looks fantastic today. Yes, the car has been extensively driven and toured, but that's the point of owning a Bentley and I'll wager that if you contact most owners of the Bentley Driver's Club, they'll say that a little bit of road wear is a badge of honor, not a demerit.
Front seat occupants are treated to a pair of supportive buckets that wrap around your shoulders, almost as if they were anticipating energetic driving in the car's future. Fragrant tan leather hides are used throughout and they have acquired a pleasant patina that only leather can provide, inviting without being tired. There's natural burled walnut everywhere you look, from the window sills to the dashboard, which is filled with dials, switches, and knobs for the driver. The original instruments are all fully functional, including the tachometer (or rev-counter in the familiar parlance), and show bright markings and clear lenses after all these years. In back, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the space available. Clever footwells offer the legroom of a much larger car, so it's easy to get comfortable if you're under about six feet tall. The trunk is large and nicely shaped, and this particular car includes a pair of fitted suitcases for travelling, which still leave room for additional baggage. It also carries its original hub wrench, jack handle, and tool roll, although the tools are now stored in a very tidy panel built into the passenger's front kick panel. There's also a small canister full of replacement light bulbs.
Rolls-Royce engineers wasted no time adding horsepower to the Bentley, punching out the former 3.6 liter inline six to 4.25 liters, which also increased top speed from 90 to 96 MPH. There's a massive intake silencer on top and the most wonderful array of tiny bell cranks and levers to manage the controls on the steering wheel. Twin ignition coils are of a modern type for reliability (the originals are notoriously prone to overheating and failure) and the voltage regulator is a cleverly hidden Delco unit (likewise), but those appear to be the lone modifications to the original spec. Both fuel pumps on the cowl operate correctly (it's actually one fuel pump with two separate motors) and all of the wiring and plumbing in the car was replaced during the restoration. Richen the mixture as suggested on the steering wheel, add some throttle, and hit the starter button and the big six barks to life with ease and settles into a smooth 900 RPM idle. Once it's warm, you can kick it down even more, where it will happily sit in the heat without getting fussy at all.
On the road the machinery is just brilliant, with smooth clutch take up and well-chosen gears in the 4-speed manual gearbox, so the car can pull through them without interrupting the smooth flow of torque. Acceleration feels effortless in almost any gear and it cruises comfortably at modern highway speeds. Leather gaiters are wrapped around the springs to keep them from squeaking and getting dirty, and there are powerful finned drum brakes at all four corners. The exhaust system uses no fewer than three separate mufflers to get the perfect sound, and it's worth noting that the entire setup was crafted from stainless steel by Borla, a project that cost more than $2000 all by itself. Painted wire wheels are an elegant choice and they are wrapped in recent 6.50-18 Firestone blackwall tires that look appropriate.
Documentation includes extensive historical information including original sales information, service records, and information cards, all put together in a bound volume. Since completion, the car has been a frequent participant in club events and long-distance tours and appeared as the cover car for the Derby Bentley Society's publication "On The Road."
This is a fantastic opportunity to own a sorted, ready to enjoy Derby Bentley with dramatic bodywork at a very appealing price. If you're already a Bentley enthusiast, there's little more that I can tell you. If, however, you're new, you will find this to be a wonderful example that needs little more than a new owner to be enjoyed. It is not perfect, it is not a show car, but like all great Bentleys, it drives superbly which is what it was designed to do from the start. Call today!
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