Portuguese registration papers
Chassis no. B-157-EJ
Engine no. E3BB
- High-quality restoration
- Unusual history
- Attractive estimate
Despite the glory resulting from its five victories at Le Mans with the ‘Bentley Boys’ and its overwhelming dominance of motorsport in the 1920s, Bentley ran into financial difficulties as a result of the Great Depression and was bought by Rolls-Royce in 1931. Founded in 1919, Bentley was initially renowned for its formidable racing cars. After it was merged into Rolls-Royce, Bentley focused more on producing luxury road cars, which were built at its factory at Derby in England, hence their new moniker of ‘Derby Bentleys’. Its first new model since being taken over by Rolls-Royce, the Bentley 3½ Litre was designed in part on a Rolls-Royce 20/25 chassis and was presented to the public in 1933. At the time, Bentley supplied only a rolling chassis with the engine, gearbox and radiator. Their customers could then choose to have the car bodied by their preferred coachbuilder. Hooper, Mulliner, Vanden Plas and Gurney Nutting all offered their services in England, but half of the 1177 3½ Litre chassis were delivered to Park Ward before production came to an end in 1935.
The model presented here is a Bentley 3½ Litre from 1934 with aluminium bodywork by Park Ward. Chassis no. B-157 EJ is a four-door Sports Saloon with a sunroof, magnificent leather upholstery to the seats and door cards and a very handsome wooden dashboard with all its original gauges. The car is noteworthy in that - according to the register in our possession - it is understood to have belonged during the 1950s to Juan de Bourbon (from the House of Bourbon), Count of Barcelona and brother of Juan Carlos I, King of Spain from 1975 to 2014. The Bentley then had a succession of different owners until 1971, when it joined the collection of a Portuguese enthusiast, who kept it for nearly 40 years. In 2017 it moved on to a major collection near Lisbon, where it was completely restored. The result is sublime. The paint has a perfect finish, the chrome is new, and the thoughtfully restored interior has retained its original fittings, while the 3669cc straight-six, which is also original, is faultless. The car is now in France but still has its Portuguese registration papers. A minor recommissioning service will be required, as the car has not run for several months. The guide price is comparable to any other Bentley 3½ Litre in good condition, but this car’s history and the high standard of its restoration are unmatched at this price in today’s market.
Aguttes – Auction House in Paris
The Autumn Sale 2020 / 13th of December