1936 Bentley 4 1⁄4-Litre Vanden Plas-style Tourer Chassis no. B200GA Engine no. H3BA

1936 Bentley 4 1⁄4-Litre Vanden Plas-style Tourer Registration no. CXR 5 Chassis no. B200GA Engine no. H3BA •First registered to Sir Norman Watson Bt •Desirable style of coachwork •Formerly the property of the late Ivor Silverstone •Fitted with a Payne Overdrive 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. 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. Even W O Bentley himself acknowledged that the 3½-Litre model was the finest ever to bear his name. 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. As before, bespoke coachwork was the order of the day, owner-driver saloon and drophead coupé bodies, mostly by Park Ward, being the norm. First registered to Sir Norman Watson Bt, to whom it was delivered on 4th June 1936, this particularly stylish Derby Bentley on the 4¼-Litre chassis has been clothed in well-proportioned open touring coachwork in the style of the rare and desirable tourer by Vanden Plas. Boasting distinctive period features including polished aluminium dashboard, cut-away rear wheel spats and polished Ace wheel discs, this car is a splendid example of a type favoured by the motoring élite of its day; Prince Bira, Malcolm Campbell, Captain George Eyston and Raymond Mays all being devotees. It is believed that the immediately preceding owner, the late Ivor Silverstone, commenced its restoration circa 1969/1970, a replacement body in Vanden Plas style being fitted. We are advised that this body is of high quality, and it has been thought that it may have come from another VDP Tourer. It should be noted that it is not a Malcolm Campbell-designed Tourer; although very similar, the front wings are different. 'CXR 5' has the rare pontoon-style wings, similar to those fitted to the car known as 'Honeysuckle'. The immediately preceding owner purchased the Bentley at Bonhams' Olympia Sale in December 2009 (Lot 527) when Ivor Silverstone's private collection was dispersed. While in his ownership the car was mechanically maintained by Tony Fabian of Blackmore Engineering (receipts available). It also benefits from the addition of a Payne Overdrive, enabling the car to be driven comfortably at 70mph, at which speed the engine is turning over at a leisurely 2,500 revs. The Bentley successfully completed a number of tours with the previous owner, including a 3,000-mile run to Rome via the Alps and Heidelberg. 'CXR 5' was also on display at the Brooklands Motor Museum in 2011 for six months. A Bentley Drivers' Club member for over 50 years, the present owner purchased the car at Bonhams' Goodwood Festival of Speed sale in June 2016 (Lot 224), since when it has been maintained by him and his mechanics. A new set of tyres was fitted recently. Driven throughout the summer months, this is a fast and spirited example; indeed, the vendor has many tales of overtaking a variety of lightweight Bentley specials on rallies - much to the other competitors' amazement - with the speedometer reading triple digits... Age is the reason for the sale (his, not the car's) plus the need to downsize the collection. For further information on this lot please visit Bonhams.com