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1938 Bentley 4 1/4 Vanvooren Coupe

Elegant, Sporting, and Unique 4 1/4 Vanvooren Sunroof Coupe

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VIN B-132-LS
Exterior Color Blue
Interior Color Blue Leather
Mileage 10872 KMS
Engine Inline 6 Cyl, 4.25L no. F4BH
Transmission 4 Speed
Status Sold
Stock FJ656


1938 Bentley 4.25 Litre Vanvooren Coupe
s/n B-132LS engine no. F-2-BH
Dark Blue with Blue Interior

The second Bentley model produced after Rolls-Royce`s acquisition of the Bentley company, the 4 and a quarter litre was a development of the earlier 3 and a half litre. Originally intended to supplement the smaller engined car, the new model`s popularity soon resulted in the elimination of the 3.5. The cars were refined and elegant, and, as was the convention at the time, bodies from a wide variety of coachbuilders were fitted to the cars. While the vast majority of cars employed British bodies, a few chassis were exported and bodied by foreign coachbuilders.

This is one such car, which was bodied by Vanvooren in Paris. It was ordered new by Lucie Vogt, the then twenty seven year old daughter of a very wealthy French family that had made its fortune through a number of potassium mines. Ms. Vogt was quite an enthusiast, and owned many Bugattis, including a Type 57S that she purchased at age 25. Dissatisfied with the service experience provided by the Bugatti distributor, she ordered the Bentley from Franco-Britannique, the French Rolls-Royce Bentley importers, in 1937. She specified no rear quarter windows so that her dogs would not be so frightened by the traffic, as well as a sliding sunroof. During the war, the car was hidden away, and then sold on to two Swiss owners. The car was then imported to an American owner in Massachusetts in 1957, who sold the car on to another Massachusetts resident in October of 1960, with whom the car remained until 2004.

The engine compartment and engine bay have both been restored to very high standards, while the interior remains very original. The paint was renewed to high standards, and shows just a few chips that have been touched up. The body is well detailed, with numerous interesting lighting details, and even a cutout in the trunk lid for the exhaust tip. Like a proper French-bodied car, this car has Marchal headlamps and a Marchal spot lamp, and the tires are Michelins. The styling is very striking, with a rakish roofline and windscreen, and teardrop fenders, hinting more at a Bugatti by Stelvio or Ventoux than the traditional Derby Bentley. The chrome has obviously been redone and is excellent.

The interior has been selectively renewed but has an overall feel of patina. The leather upholstery on the seats and door panels appears to be original and displays much cracking. The headliner is wool and of the original type, but has likely been redone since it is excellent. The carpets were redone at some point but show some wear by this time. The wood has also been refinished and is excellent, though there are two cracks on the dashboard. Interestingly, the instruments are all in English, except for the fuel gauge, which is in French.

The engine compartment has been restored to high standards, though some of the fasteners and hardware are showing some age. On the whole, however, the engine compartment is extremely presentable and makes a strong impression. The underside is very tidy and clean, displaying much evidence of maintenance.

This is an extremely rare opportunity to acquire what is, quite possibly, a unique car. Vanvooren produced just five fixed head coupe Derby Bentleys (which includes both three and a half and four and a quarter litre models), and this is likely the only one with the unique features of the so-called custode windows and sliding sunroof. This car enjoys impeccable provenance, known history from new, and has been sympathetically restored so that is both beautiful and proud of its age. It comes with a set of period 16-inch Borrani wire wheels, as well as jack, tools, and car cover. 

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Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA

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