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1940 BENTLEY 4½-LITRE SPORTS SALOON

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1940 BENTLEY 4½-LITRE SPORTS SALOON
COACHWORK BY PARK WARD

Registration No. KYR 193
Chassis No. B173MX
Engine No. V7BD
Dark burgundy on biscuit with tan interior

Engine; six cylinder, 4,257cc, 125bhp at 4,500rpm; Gearbox; four speed manual with overdrive; Brakes; four wheel drum; Suspension; semi-elliptic leaf springs, front and rear. Right hand drive.

The result of the Rolls-Royce takeover of Bentley Motors in 1931 was the announcement of the 3½-litre Bentley, the first Silent Sports Saloon which was powered by an improved version of the Rolls-Royce 20/25 engine with an overhead valve crossflow head and twin carburettors. The power unit drove a four speed gearbox with synchromesh on third and top gears; the chassis embodied the Hispano power-assisted braking system, using a gearbox-driven servo to aid braking effort.

By 1936 some extra power was seen to be needed from the engine which was therefore bored out to 3½in. to make the capacity 4¼-litre. This increase gave a most satisfactory improvement in performance. The car stayed in production for just over three years and 1,241 examples were built.

This very attractive Park Ward bodied Bentley was owned for many years, by the Bentley enthusiast, Richard Hoyle who sent it regularly to P & A Wood for servicing and a full mechanical restoration was carried out shortly before he emmigrated to Australia. The car was bought by Paul Wood who continued the restoration of the bodywork, repainting and retrimming the interior. In 1981 it was entered into the BDC Kensington Gardens Concours and was the 4¼ class winner and went on to take Best Derby Bentley. It was in the ownership of Victor Gauntlett until passing to its present owner approximately three years ago.

Today the vehicle remains in very good order and still bears testimony to the fine restoration carried out some years before. Generally the paintwork is very presentable with only some slight crazing on the rear light surrounds. The interior woodwork also has some older cracking under the veneer and the leather upholstery is still excellent apart from a small tear in one of the rear seats. The engine bay is also very clean and only the engine bay tools show slight deterioration. On a short drive the engine ran extremely smoothly.

Not only is this 4¼-litre a desirable example being a former concours winner but it is worth noting that it is one of the last produced and is from the MX series. These cars had an overdrive gearbox, higher gear ratios, modified camshafts among other engine improvements and used smaller wheels which increased the top speed by 11mph to a maximum of 107mph. They also adopted the Marles cam and roller steering which was much lighter than the Rolls-Royce steering box.
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