After Rolls-Royce acquired Bentley's assets in 1931, it quickly terminated the 8-Liter model which threatened the Rolls-Royce Phantom's lock on the British luxury market. The Bentley name and reputation, however, had great value in the marketplace for sporting and owner-driven automobiles and Rolls-Royce in 1933 introduced a Derby built Bentley, the 3 1/2 Liter. It was based on a lightweight 10 foot six inch wheelbase chassis code-named Peregrine powered by a tuned version of the Rolls-Royce 20/25 engine with dual carburetors, higher compression and a sporting camshaft and enjoyed immediate acceptance and success.
In 1936 the engine was bored out to 4,257cc with a 21 horsepower increase. The combination of more power, lighter coachwork and high quality construction at Rolls-Royce's Derby factory made the Bentley 4 1/4 Liter one of the finest open road touring automobiles of the Thirties.
This 1936 Bentley 4 1/4 Liter with Saloon coachwork by Park Ward may have an intriguing history. One of the earlier cars produced (the 52nd according to Stanley Sedgwick's 'All the Pre-War Bentleys') it is shown on its Bentley chassis card as first delivered to George Jeffrey Smith at The Autocar, then the definitive British auto enthusiast magazine, with the special instruments package that still distinguishes it today, an instrument panel fit for a 30's aircraft with gauges and switches for every function. Was it Autocar's road test vehicle, or just an astute choice by an editor exposed to the very best in vehicles available in Britain during the period? It will take further research to establish.
B100GA is a very attractive older restoration with good paint, chrome, bodywork and interior finished in distinctive two tone cream with tan accent and red leather upholstery. It is generously lighted with Lucas headlights, a pair of fog lights, a center driving lamp and dual spotlights. There are dual exposed horns, a badge bar, fender-mounted mirrors, dual sidemounts, rear seat trays and bucket seats in the front for adequate support when the 4 1/4's ample performance and good road holding are exploited. All six wheels are fitted with wheel discs that complement the livery.
A remarkably thorough documentation file accompanies it including the owner's instruction book, service instruction, chassis cards from the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club and copies of old registrations. The Park Ward coachwork is handsome and sporting. An attractive older restoration that has demonstrated its competence and quality by being driven but also sympathetically maintained, this is a connoisseur's Bentley 4 1/4 Liter, the Silent Sports Car at its most elegant, dual-purpose best.
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