1937 BENTLEY 4¼ LITRE SPORTS SALOON
COACHWORK BY PARK WARD
Registration No. ELL 189
Chassis No. B187 KU
Engine No. K 9 BC
Black over grey with black leather
Engine: six cylinders in line, pushrod overhead valves, twin SU carburettors, 4,257cc 124bhp; Gearbox: manual four speed with synchromesh and right-hand change; Suspension: front beam, live rear axle, half elliptic leaf springs all round with ride control; Brakes: four wheel servo-assisted mechanically operated drum. Right hand drive.
When they introduced their new 3.1litre Bentley in 1933, the company's catalogue said, 'There is at the present time an ever increasing demand for a car of moderate size which can carry in comfort up to four passengers and at the same time maintain a high average speed. Such a car must combine the seemingly incompatible qualities of high engine power and low chassis weight with silence and good riding qualities.' It was indeed a new kind of sport-car, combining as it did open road verve with the understated good manners of a formal luxury car in town.
It had been two years since Rolls-Royce had taken over the original Bentley company. In just a decade the marque had built an imperishable reputation, but times had changed. It was high time a new Bentley was offered, more fitted to the leaner early 1930s. After some hesitation and experiment, a twin-carburettor version of the well tried 20/25 Rolls-Royce engine had been installed in the sturdy double drop chassis of an existing 2.3 litre prototype known as the Peregrine. Sir Henry Royce approved, development went ahead and in August 1933 production models were shown to the press. Clad with a wide range of lovingly hand-crafted open and closed fast touring and sports bodies from the best coachbuilders, the 3½ was an appealing package and sold briskly. To keep up the pressure on its competitors, in 1936 Bentley introduced the 4¼ litre, only a little faster, but with enhanced acceleration, particularly in top gear. More than sheer performance, the Derby-built Bentley offered silence and a finely judged blend of dynamic qualities. Its steering would have been considered light in a much smaller car, the servo assisted brakes required little effort to slow the car from high speeds, cornering power was high, the ride excellent.
This 4¼ Litre car was supplied new to Major W.A. Sedgewick Rough, being guaranteed on 17th December 1937 and delivered a day later, through H.M. Bentley & Partners. It was first registered with him at his London address, York House, Kensington, according to factory build sheets, but they make no further note of subsequent owners or indeed detail specification of the car. The Bentley has resided in the Sharpe Family Collection for many years, during which time it has been stored in sympathetic conditions.
Today the car has a somewhat tired appearance and will certainly need restoration/re-commissioning though it is not possible to comment on the extent of such work required. Copies of the factory records are offered with the car.