1939 Bentley 4 1/4 Liter Overdrive Sport Coupe by Park Ward
The Honeymoon Express
One of the most famous "Derby Bentleys", this car was displayed by Park Ward at the 1938 Earls Court Motor Show in London. A unique design, this sleek two seater sports coupe was intended to be Bentley's counterpart to the Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier. It featured a smooth fastback tail and aerodynamic close-coupled lines on the "MR" chassis with fixed radiator shutters, a more sporting dashboard layout, a Marles steering box, and most importantly, the overdrive 4-speed transmission.
Continuing this car's unique design, it was equipped with a "sunshine roof", frameless Triplex side windows with mechanical lifts, cigar lighters and full wheel spats. The use of the 4 -1/4 litre chassis for a two passenger body allowed for additional space behind the seats, which was intended for the use of luggage. Park Ward also included a power-operated roller blind that could be lowered to cover the rear window.
Because of this racy touch and the extra luggage space, the car was nicknamed "The Honeymoon Express" by the period press. The car was a showstopper and the chairman of Park Ward took it as his personal automobile. During World War II, the car was used by the London Rolls-Royce dealer R.A. Robertson, who had it painted camouflage to avert attention by German bombers. After the war, the car was returned to the factory and stripped and repainted black.
In the early 1960s the car was purchased by Maurice Richmond, an American on active military duty in England. He used the car regularly and drove it to a Bentley Pageant at Goodwood in 1967 where it was used as a demonstration car by Johnnie Green. On July 11, 1967, the car arrived in Los Angeles on the MS Brasilia and remained in Mr. Richmond's ownership until 2002 when it was purchased by Charles Crail.
In 2002, the car was sold and returned to England where it underwent a concours quality restoration by Alpine Eagle between 2006-11. It was displayed at the 2011 RREC Rally, winning its class and the Peter Blond award, and also won the Coachbuilders Golden Age prize at the Louis Vuitton Classic Serenissima Run in 2012.
The car was then sold and returned to the United States where a correct style window blind was installed completing the original "Honeymoon Express" configuration. In 2015, it was awarded 3rd in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours as well as 1st in Class at the Amelia Island Councours.
In August of 2016, this exceptional car was sold for $770,000 at the RM Auctions Monterey Sale.