Bentley 4 and 1/4 litre cars were manufactured at the Derby works from 1936-39. In all 1,241 cars were made. It employed exactly the same chassis, gearbox and back-axle ratios as its immediate predecessor the 3 and 1/2 litre model, the so-called ’Silent Sports Car’ (manufacturing years: 1933-36). Both models were produced under the new ownership/direction of Rolls-Royce Ltd. and exemplified R-R’s traditional quiet, smooth nature while manifestly demonstrating the handling qualities already attributed to the Bentley marque. Performance of both models was comparable, the main contrast being that the 4 and 1/4 litre had a more sophisticated lubrication system and offered a slightly superior mid-range performance. Among its famous string of sporty owners were land speed record-holder Sir Malcolm Campbell and Raymond Mays of ERA and BRM fame.
The first owner of this particular car was Alan Samuel Butler, Chairman of the de Havilland Aircraft Co. Ltd., who took delivery just a few days after the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. It was exported to the U.S.A. in 1952 and returned to the U. K. in 1989. In the early 1990s it was refurbished by Richard and Judy Ingram who campaigned it in numerous rallies including: the Peking to Paris and ‘Around the World in 80 Days’. The car was thus effectively worn out by the early/mid-2000s.
So in 2008 its then owners undertook a total refurbishment. The original coachbuilder, Park Ward, had its closed saloon body replaced by Messrs. James E. Pearce, specialist coachbuilders of Wisborough Green, West Sussex, with the graceful design lines of the 4-seater open tourer style of coachbuilder Vanden Plas —who had made only four previous examples in period to this design. Pearce managed to borrow an un-refurbished and genuine car from Peter Wood of well-known Bentley/Rolls Royce specialists P. & A. Wood of Great Dunmow, Essex. He and his team then replicated a perfect copy in aluminium over the newly created traditional ash frame with the chrome work being retained. Additionally, a new hood and screens were manufactured. The body colour is Mercedes light metallic blue which complements very well the dark blue interior. By 2010, the result is the car that can be seen here today.
Reg. No. FYU 313
Chassis No. B137 MX (overdrive, introduced late-1938, with 4.3 to 1 rear axle ratio as opposed to the earlier 4.1 to 1)
Engine. No. U8BE
Displayed courtesy of Club member Peter Ratcliff— who acquired it in 2017 from Peter Read, Chairman of the Club’s Motoring Committee — from Monday 29th April to Bank Holiday Monday 7th May 2019.