1934 Bentley 3 1/2 Litre3½-Litre Drophead Coupe
Year of manufacture1934
$130,000 - $150,000
- Very early Derby Bentley, the 43rd chassis completed under Rolls-Royce ownership
- Originally owned by Sir Frederick Charles Stewart, who oversaw construction of RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth
- Comprehensive specialist restoration in the early 1990s
- Retains its original, numbers-matching engine
- Please note this lot will need to be collected from St. Louis, MO
The first new Bentley released under the Rolls-Royce umbrella was the 3½-Litre of 1933. As Bentley’s tough-guy image morphed into that of The Silent Sports Car, it offered improved comfort, refinement, and, critically, broader customer appeal. Per Rolls-Royce and Bentley tradition, all new 3½-Litre models left the Rolls-Royce Works in Derby as complete rolling chassis, leaving coachwork selection to the selling dealers or individual buyer. The car’s light, sturdy double-drop frame allowed for modern low-slung styling, inspiring Britain’s finest coachbuilders to grace the Derby Bentley with the latest in streamlined designs.
Chassis number B93AE is a very early Derby Bentley, understood to be the 43rd chassis completed under Rolls-Royce ownership, and featuring Park Ward’s handsome four-passenger drophead coupe coachwork. Documents reveal that the first registered owner was Sir Frederick Charles Stewart, who took delivery on 24 March 1934. Stewart served as the managing director for John Brown & Company, one of the world’s most illustrious shipbuilding firms. He oversaw the commission and construction of the Hull 534 and 552 – better known as the Cunard Line’s RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth, respectively. A man of such stature in Britain’s proudest industry deserved nothing but the finest motorcar, and he cherished B93AE for many years. In 1950, ownership transferred to Iain Maxwell Stewart, and a well-documented chain of owners led the car to Scotland, South Africa, and then California.
B93AE received a comprehensive specialist restoration in the early 1990s and spent many years in the care of the Sid Craig collection. Today, it presents in excellent condition, the high-quality restoration well preserved and having gracefully matured. Details such as the painted radiator shell, fully enclosed rear-mount spare wheel, and polished wheel discs impart a decidedly sporting character to the versatile and stylish coachwork. It retains its original, numbers-matching engine, along with the original timing cover, starter, and dynamo.
This 3½-Litre is a highly attractive and historically fascinating example of Bentley’s silent sports car, ready for its next long-term keeper to savor its exceptional refinement and grace.To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/0120.