1939 Bentley 4 1/4 Liter Overdrive Pillarless Coupe by Park Ward
Very Late Model One Off Pillarless Coupe by Park Ward with Overdrive!
4,257cc OHV 6-Cylinder Engine
Twin SU Carburetors
4-Speed Manual Transmission with Overdrive 4th Gear.
4-Wheel Servo Boosted Drum Brakes
*Exceptionally well-documented history
*Attractive one off Pillarless Coupe by Park Ward.
*No expense spared restoration
*Desirable MX Overdrive Series
THE DERBY BENTLEY
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 in 1936, when an increase in bore size upped the capacity to 4,257cc. Thus the new 4¼-Liter model offered more power than before while retaining the well-proven chassis with its faultless gear-change and servo-assisted brakes. W.O Bentley spent several years with Rolls Royce working on the development of the cars that bore his name. He always had used the Continent as a test venue and the new high speed roads enabled him to suggest multiple improvements. This unlikely synergy gave birth to the Silent Sports car, a car with unique qualities of precision construction and exceptional handling in a package which represented a true pinnacle of elegance.
In 1938 the Derby was further improved with addition of an overdrive transmission, allowing for effortless high speed cruising. A steady 90mph in silence when the average sedan was straining at 60 was a stunning achievement.
The Derby Bentley was, of course, an exclusively coachbuilt automobile. Of the 2,442 manufactured, owner-driver saloon and Drophead Coupe bodies, mostly by Park Ward, were the norm. Very few cars were built as more sporting coupes or tourers.
According to factory records B131 MX was delivered to Park Ward on April 4 of 1939 where it was fitted with a four light pillarless coupe body. This fitted body was eye catching and all evidence points that it was a one-off design. The car was completed and shipped overseas to the New York dealer, J.S. Inskip, who sold the car to Mr. S.M. Swenson of Orange, New Jersey on January 20, 1940. According to Rolls-Royce Owners Club records, the ownership of the car is as follows:
1947 – 1958 Donald Lamb New York City, New York
1963 – 68 Victor Hennington Pelham, New York
1971 – 77 Robert Shaw Ho-ho-kus, New Jersey
1980 – 91 Ricardo Fabbri Merrick, New York
7/11/93 James Hancock Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire
1/17/03 David Toms
5/1/2004 Bob Brechler Fernandina Beach, FL
Mr. Brechler chose to have the car restored and sent it to Vintage and Auto Rebuilds, Inc (Steve Litten) in Chardon, Ohio in 2007 for a comprehensive restoration totaling over $235,000. The car was completed in 2009 and displayed at the Amelia Island Concourse. The car remained in Mr. Brechler's ownership until his passing.
The car then passed to a family member, and has been kept in immaculate order over the past few years. It recently received a top award at the Mirror Lake Concours, a first place award at the Birthplace of Speed show in Ormond Beach and earned a Palmetto award at this year's Hilton Head Concours.
Completely restored to an incredible standard, this rare and desirable, one-off Derby Bentley with its intriguing history of crossing the Atlantic just ahead of the U Boats is ready for numerous motoring events. The overdrive series Derby Bentleys are considered by many, to be one of the finest prewar cars. It is sure to bring its next owner much enjoyment, and is equally at home touring the Scottish Highlands, or on the Concours lawn.