Thursday, 4 February 2016


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1939 BENTLEY 4.25 LITRE (Overdrive)

During the late 1920's and early 1930's Bentley ran into grave financial trouble and by 1931 Rolls-Royce had stepped in and bought the assets and goodwill of the defunct company and formed a new one, Bentley Motors (1931) Ltd. Rolls-Royce had considered the Bentley marque to be a growing threat to their future success, but following their purchase decided to continue the Bentley name, albeit under their own stewardship, taking the company in an entirely new direction with the creation of the Silent Sports Car or Derby Bentley. In 1933 the new Bentley 3.5 Litre model was released and was an instant success. The combination of effortless power and style met with almost universal praise. It was powered by a developed twin carburettor version of Rolls-Royces own 20/25 model and was installed in a low 126 inch wheelbase chassis that basically remained unaltered until the cessation of production in 1939 due to the outbreak of hostilities. Synchromesh was present on third and fourth gears and the Derby's were fitted with a cross flow cylinder head and superb servo assisted brakes, encapsulating all of the perfection of Rolls-Royce engineering in this small sporting Bentley. Fitting of individual coachwork by approved body builders continued in true Rolls-Royce fashion giving potential buyers a great deal of choice in the look of their new motor car. 1936 saw further improvements with the introduction of the 4.25 Litre model when production of the 3.5 Litre unit ceased. Steady development continued throughout the cars production and in late 1938 even more power was obtained when the overdrive models were introduced, which were known as the MX/MR series cars. The original Bentley sales literature outlined the key improvements that improved the overdrive cars performance which included the provision of an overdrive gearbox which would allow the car to attain a greater maximum speed without exceeding maximum engine revolutions. The steering was of improved design, providing greater control under all conditions. Modified gear ratios and slight engine modifications also improved acceleration under certain conditions. The slower running engine coupled with the over drive top gear resulted in greater silence and smoothness. And finally centralised chassis lubrication and automatic shock absorbers with over-riding hand control were fitted. The MX/MR models were truly the ultimate incarnation on the Derby chassis and are still very much sought after some seventy years on. Just two hundred chassis examples were created, finding their way to lucky owners with a variety of coachwork designs. Chassis No B72MR which we are currently offering for sale was completed in November of 1938, to the original order of Mr G.S. Bordrick. It was fitted with sedanca coupe coachwork by James Young, this specific design believed to be one of just two cars built in this style, the other being Chassis No B86MR. It was retained by Mr Brodrick until 1940 when it was purchased by Harold Radford and Co Ltd of South Kensington. It remained with them for ten years until becoming the property of Mrs H Sneyd of Warminster in Wiltshire and then it changed hands again in 1958 and 1961, being sold to Mr Basil Roy of London and then Major P.R.J. Everidge respectively. In more recent times it was sold at auction in London in the early 1990's to a collector in the south of England who retained it until 1999. At this point B72MR was acquired by Frank Dale & Stepsons and then supplied by us to a collector in Europe where it remained until returning to London very recently. At a time unknown, the original sedanca coupe roof was sealed and the car was turned into a fixed head coupe. However very recently, the car was returned to its original appearance and specification, with a sedanca roof. Finished in black with tan leather interior, the car remains in very nice condition and in our opinion is extremely attractive, the tail mounted trunk adding great elegance to the overall appearance of the car. This stylish and unique Derby Bentley has been prepared in our workshops as per our normal policy and is ready for its next fortunate owner.
If you would like to make an enquiry about this vehicle, please contact us by phone on 020 8847 5447 or by email at


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