Imagine London society in the Roaring Twenties: the age of flapper girls, dashing cars, art deco, and the all-new jazz music. Into this intoxicating era the Cricklewood Bentley was born. And soon the marque was to became the de rigueur preserve of aristocrats, film stars, foreign dignitaries and socialites.
Chassis number XF3520 was delivered to its first owner, Frank Bone of Littlewick near Maidenhead in November 1930. Built on a ten-foot, ten-inch wheelbase chassis, with a standard specification engine, it was clothed in a fabric-covered Weymann body executed by Maythorn & Sons, and built to genuine Weymann patents. The patent plaques are still visible on the body today.
This Bentley was obviously well cared for by Mr. Bone—as evidenced by an uninterrupted Bentley Motors’ service record that covers the entire 1930s. Regrettably these service records ended abruptly in 1940, the year that Rolls-Royce closed its old Kingsbury Service Department where XF3520 was being looked after. The current owner believes, in common with most privately owned cars of that era, that the Bentley was laid up for the duration of the Second World War. It was eventually acquired by Lieutenant Colonel Evans in 1950 who he enjoyed XF3520 for a further 13 years. After one short-term owner, the car was then acquired by W.A. Liddell. He sympathetically maintained and preserved it (as demonstrated by the large number of invoices in its history file of the period). In the course of his ownership, Liddell took XF3520 to such concours events as Blenheim Palace and Kensington Gardens and competed successfully in the VSCC Pomeroy Trophy (performance tests; track session) in 1971.
After passing briefly through Stanley Mann’s hands in 1996, this Bentley was then sold to collector Richard Sanders in September 1997. Sanders kept XF3520 for more than a quarter of a century prior to it being acquired by its current owner. Sanders simply preserved the car in the main having several other motor cars to indulge in play. However, he had the differential rebuilt and the engine fitted with counter-balanced crank and rods.
The current owner has had this rare Bentley recently ‘refreshed’ by vintage Bentley specialists, R. C. Moss, with an utmost concern for its pedigree. It was then entered in the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours in 2015 and has taken part in many tours and rallies (again prepared beautifully by Moss), including one from London to Scotland and back!
XF3520 is presented in remarkable original ‘matching numbers’ condition. Recently inspected by pre-war Bentley authority, Dr. Clare Hay who noted that ‘the chassis and its fittings were in remarkably good order’. Of particular note is the rare Maythorn four-door body, one of only eight known surviving, intact 4.5 litre saloons. Sadly over the years, the majority of closed saloon bodies on 4.5 litre Bentleys has been discarded to make way for Vanden Plas-style Le Mans replica bodies—so it is a precious thing indeed to own such a saloon. The body still has all of its original exterior fabric and a great deal of its original interior. The original ‘shaped to fit’ rear trunk has also been retained. Indeed it’s recognized as the most sporting and original 4.5 Litre saloon to survive and an ultimate enclosed vintage motoring experience.
Acquired 10 years ago by Gregor Fisken, from Linda and the late Richard Saunders, Gregor’s family continues to enjoy keeping up the tradition of family motoring with his twins growing up in the back of this fabulous Bentley. The saloon was shown at Pebble Beach in 2015. And this year it will be at Chantilly Arts and Elegance in June 2019.
Displayed courtesy of Gregor Fisken Esq from Monday 8th April to Sunday 14th April 2019.