• Numbers matching with original coachwork
• Awarded ‘Best Derby Bentley’ at Kensington Gardens
• Featured in the books, Bentley-The Silent Sports Car 1931-1941 and Bentley Beauty
• A “one-off” body design-to-order
• Considered one of the most attractive 4 ¼ Litre Coupes
Body No: B282
4,257 cc OHV inline six-cylinder engine, twin S.U. carburetors, est. 125 HP at 3,800 rpm, four-speed manual gearbox, solid front and live rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 126”
Based on the Rolls-Royce 20/25 and introduced alongside it for 1933, the 3½-litre Bentley was the first of the celebrated “Derby Bentleys” that remain famous as “The Silent Sports Car.” An increase in engine displacement to 4,257 cc in 1936 yielded the more powerful 4 ¼ litre. The new Bentley was an unqualified success offering more power than before and delivered excellent over-the-road performance while retaining the existing and well-proven 3 ½ litre chassis with its excellent gear-change and servo-assisted brakes. While praised by Sir Malcolm Campbell of ‘Bluebird’ land-speed record fame, the Derby Bentleys also earned the respect of their namesake, W.O. Bentley himself. Exclusively coach built automobiles, the 4 ¼ litre was cloaked in some of the finest bespoke bodies of the prewar era. According to respected Bentley texts, as few as 1,234 examples of the Bentley 4 ¼ litre chassis were manufactured from 1936 to 1939. Of them, B91JY, the splendid Fixed-Head Coupe offered here, is a coveted “one of one” example with particularly striking Coachwork by Park Ward.
According to chassis and coachbuilders’ tables listed in Michael Ellman-Brown’s definitive book, Bentley - The Silent Sports Car 1931-1941, B91JY is recorded as having been completed by Park Ward on April 27, 1937 with Body Number B282, a “Special Four-Seater Coupe.” The vehicle is further recorded by Ellman-Brown as having been delivered new on April 30, 1937 with the factory guarantee period commencing the next day. The original owner was one Miss F. Pickles, who is understood to have at first desired a Drophead Coupe, but soon changed her mind in favor of this Fixed-Head body. Subsequently, B91JY was owned by RREC member Colin Hughes of the UK. More recently, the Bentley was imported to the United States and owned by noted collectors A.C. “Ace” Rosner of Washington, D.C. and Norman Leitman, the CCCA, Rolls-Royce, and Bentley judge and classic car enthusiast from California. While in the care of Mr. Leitman the car was exhibited at the well-known Bentley Drivers Club gathering at Kensington Gardens, in London and it was awarded ‘Best Derby Bentley.’ A rather prestigious award considering the company that the car was in. It was shortly after that B91JY would join the collection of noted Bentley aficionado Peter Hageman of Kirkland, Washington and then subsequently on to its current owner.
Now, as when new, this singular Bentley 4 ¼ is modern and decidedly seductive. In addition to the razor-edged, Victoria-style roof with its faux cabriolet profile and blind rear quarters, the Park Ward body was further endowed with a single side-mounted spare yielding an uncluttered rear treatment including a scalloped waist and small boot lid. Sleek pontoon-style front fenders and the absence of running boards add a modern flair reminiscent of the work of contemporary French design houses, while the single fog lamp between the twin horns made a commanding statement. The interior compartment of B91JY is equally impressive, featuring a lovely figured Walnut dashboard, well-placed controls and instruments, downward-sweeping Walnut door cappings, and rear vanity compartments hidden behind sliding doors within the rear quarters.
Now offered from an enthusiast/owner in the Pacific Northwest, B91JY continues to present handsomely and it benefits from mechanical work performed around 2010 to ensure a great touring experience. Among the items addressed, the cylinder head was replaced and valves ground, the drivetrain was overhauled, and the engine tuned. Electric overdrive ensures touring ease. Proof of the Bentley’s capabilities was gained on a 2015 CCCA CARavan tour through British Columbia, Banff, and Lake Louise – a trip of some 1,200 miles that was enjoyable and completed without issue in the finest Bentley tradition. A full set of small tools is housed within the proper tray attached to the boot lid and upon inspection, it is clear that B91JY continues to benefit from the proper and attentive care it has received from its caretakers over the years. A true crowd pleaser wherever it appears, with its custom Coachwork by Park Ward, this Bentley is highly drivable, enjoyable and ready to embark on new adventures.
1937 Bentley 4 ¼ Litre Fixed Head Coupe