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1937 Bentley 4 1/4 Litre Hooper Tourer

Magnificently Documented and Wonderfully Unrestored

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sold

VIN B7JY
Exterior Color Safari Ivory
Interior Color Golden Mahogany Hide
Mileage 85088 Miles
Engine 4 1/4 Litre 6-Cyl no. H6BD
Transmission 4-Speed
Status Sold
Stock FJ769

Comments

1937 Bentley 4 ¼ Liter Tourer by Hooper
S/N B7JY Engine no. H6BD
Safari Ivory with Golden Mahogany 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 ½. Together, these cars are known as the "Derby Bentleys" because they were built at Rolls-Royce's Derby factory, which would not be used again for automobile production after World War II because Rolls-Royce was using it exclusively for aero engines by then. The Derby Bentleys were refined and elegant, earning the famous "slient sports car" moniker that would become synonymous with Bentley. With 4-wheel servo assisted brakes, the cars stopped well, and as was the convention at the time, bodies from a wide variety of coachbuilders were fitted to the cars. Over half the cars were built with Park Ward bodywork, with the remaining cars spread across a large number of other coachbuilders.

This particular all weather tourer is one of just two of these cars bodied by Hooper and has a one off body commissioned for a Mr. R. L. Jump. He was an elderly gentleman who took delivery of the car on the 10th of April 1937, but sold it later that year with 1,200 miles on the odometer. The second owners of the car, the Harvey family, purchased the car from Hooper in 1937 and kept it until 1956. They enjoyed the car very much, and owner’s son, then twenty years old, enjoyed the car and regularly drove it to Scotland, much to his delight. The car was returned to Bentley Motors Ltd. for servicing several times during this period, including in December of 1938 with 12,321 miles on the odometer, and again in February of 1949 with 33,875 miles. At this time, the car received a comprehensive service and full engine rebuild to include: reboring the block, new pistons, new crank shaft, new bearings, slipper drive, and tappet/rocker mechanism. The following components also received attention: starter motor drive, clutch, rear axle, rear shock links, petrol pumps, dynamo, and starter. The car was serviced again at Jack Barclay in July to September of 1955 with 49,711 miles.

The Harvey family sold the car in 1956 when it had covered 51,000 miles from new to a Mr. Hobday who drove the car very regularly. By January of 1960, the car had covered 70,964 miles. He sold the car on to a Mr. Mack at about that time, and the current American owner purchased the car while in London on business in August of 1965. The owner, a concessionaire of new Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Hillman, and MG automobiles, acquired the car with 79,238 miles, and has used the car extremely sparingly, bringing its current mileage to 85,092.

Under the current owner’s care, the car has been sympathetically kept up with extremely high attention to detail. The car was repainted once in 1987 to its current ivory color (it was previously black), and the car was reupholstered at that time as well, to coincide with its fiftieth year. The car was present at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, which, like this car, was completed in 1937. The car has recently (2008-2009) received much sympathetic work, both mechanically and cosmetically. The mechanical work has included new tires and tubes, attention to the rockers in the engine, flushing of the cooling system, new fuel pumps, cooling hoses, steering box seal, some new wiring to the headlamps, adjusted clutch, new battery, adjusted brakes, cleaned and lubed wiper gears, lubed starter, cleaned generator armature, serviced distributor, new points, carburetors overhauled, new vacuum hoses, and lubed water pump. The cosmetic work has included a new windscreen, selective rechroming, some new fender welts, comprehensive cleaning and conditioning of the interior, new running board rubber, mud flaps, trunk seals, and floor mat.

The car is tremendously complete, with documentation and tools. The original owner’s handbook is included, and the car comes with receipts as far back as the 1950’s, as well as a 1956 letter from Bentley Motors Ltd. outlining the service work performed in house. The car also comes with copies of the original build sheets. There are also copies of the 1936 road test of the 4 ¼ litre Bentley from The Motor, and the car was featured on page 165 of the book The Silent Sports Car. The mascot, wheel covers, tool kit, and original registration plates are also included.

Cosmetically, the car presents as a well preserved car that has a lovely consistent patina. The paintwork is in good shape and the body very nice, substantiating the owner’s claim of no accidents having ever occurred. The paint does not have the shiny and wet character of modern paints but instead has a nice subdued character that more closely matches how the car would have been when new. The chrome is presentable overall with patina in the form of some haze and light surface scratches. The car has a full complement of impressive Lucas lamps, all of which are in very nice condition.

The interior is in very nice condition, and is a striking and rich combination of “Golden Mahogany” leather and polished metal. The leather is very supple and in fine shape, and the custom canvas tonneau cover and spare tire cover are impressive as well. The carpets and headliner are showing some age, and the owner of the car reports that they are at least fifty years old. The metal trim is showing some deterioration in places, but the instruments are excellent.

The trunk is in very nice condition and has benefited from the recent attention that it received. The tools are still in place, as are those in the engine compartment. The engine compartment is tidy , highly correct, and very complete, with bottle jack, hammer, fuse covers, and glass washer fluid reservoir.

The car drives very well and it is clear that it has never been completely disassembled because it has a rare completeness and coherence that is extremely difficult, if not impossible to replicate. Going over road imperfections, the car has a remarkable solidity, and the doors do not sag at all, a particularly rare feat on Derby Bentleys.

This is a truly unrepeatable opportunity acquire a superbly documented and fundamentally unmolested one-off open 4 ¼ litre Bentley that has had the same enthusiastic owner for the last 45 years. It is in attractive but usable condition, and has irreproachable history and documentation that is becoming increasingly rare as more and more cars are restored.

 


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

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