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Car of the Month

More on Bentley in these books:

The Derby Built Bentleys

Bentley - On the road 

Bentley - 50 Years of the Marque


Car of the Month - October 2016
Bentley 3½ Litre, 1935, #B16EF
Open Tourer by North Stables Coachbuilders

Bentley 3,5 Liter

In 1935 the Bentley 3½ Litre was licenced for Miss E.C. Miller with registration ADF 801. She was a cherished customer of Bentley Motors; in "The Derby Built Bentleys" by Bernard L. King are listed the chassis-numbers of three further Derby-Bentleys (a designation based on the location of the factory in Derby) that were delivered to Miss Miller. The female client had opted on a four-door Sports Saloon by Park Ward which is listed with Body-No. C.853 in the coachbuilding company's records. 

In that form the car was a perfect example of what Rolls-Royce, who had taken over the Bentley marque not too long ago, wanted to position as their "Silent Sports Car" in the market. The 3½ Litre was a relatively compact car with a powerful engine and sporty handling – in a league of its own because of luxurious features and exceptional comfort. No wonder that #B16EF was featured with a photo in an issue of Bentley Motors' magazine – and although original issues of that publication nowadays are as rare as a hen's teeth all are available in the two-volume compendium "Bentley – On the Road" (#B16EF to be found there on page 57).

Bentley 3,5 Liter

It is true though to state that by 1970 this car having suffered from hard use in combination with neglect as regards appropriate service was in a sad state. It was acquired by a certain Lt. J.H. Garnier who invested in a very careful overhaul of chassis and technical components but decide to scrap the tatty 4-door coachwork. His idea was to arrange for an entirely new body along the lines of the one that had been specially erected and modified race-ace Eddie Hall's activities in the Tourist-Trophy Competition 1934 thru 1936. Hence the well-known designer Tony Robinson was entrusted to do the job in conjunction with North Stables Coachbuilders.

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 Bentley 3,5 Liter

The result of their work was so good that no less an authority than Johnnie Green, author of the "Bentley, 50 Years of the Marque" (first published 1969, several new print-runs followed, at present available in a re-vised edition) was impressed and did comment he felt positively thrilled. At the Bentley Drivers’ Club 1982 Annual Meeting at Kensington Gardens, London, #B16EF was awarded the trophies "Best Derby Bentley" and "Best Modified Derby Bentley", too. The judges had found to an appropriate decision if the fact might be the yardstick that in 1983 a jury of competent craftsmen quoted at the "Coachwork of the Year Competition" quote #B16EF showed "best work by a professional builder".

Meanwhile this Bentley 3½ Litre has spent considerable more years of its life with its second Tourer Body than with its first 4-door Saloon. However never again did the car suffer from any neglect. Just the opposite – although employed during a variety of demanding international rallyes on various continents this car was kept in fine fettle. In the custody of an highly knowledgeable owner proper service was checked to the least detail. Absolutely no doubt that in this case the term "regardless of expenses" is true. It has nothing to do with the car but only with the age of the present owner that the car will become available.

Bentley 3,5 Liter

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