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|This page: 'Then' and 'Now' photos of a mid-1930s MPW Bentley 3.5.|
1935 Bentley 3.5 saloon.
The Bentley shown above has an engine of 3669cc, and is now down as being black in colour. The road tax is current, so it seems likely that this car is in use, perhaps at Bentley Drivers Club events?? The coachwork looks similar to the products of Park Ward, but I'm sure a Bentley expert can confirm this or not.
The 3.5 Derby Bentleys were rated by the RAC at 25.3HP, the engine producing a very respectable 114bhp that enabled these stately motorcars to crack the 90mph mark, with favourable conditions.
Between 1933 and 1936 over 1,100 examples of 3.5 litre Bentley were produced, with coachwork from one of a number of contemporary coachbuilders. The engine itself was based on the earlier six cylinder Rolls-Royce 20/25 unit, but now treated to twin SU carburettors, perkier cams, and a slight increase in compression ratio. The 3� litre Bentleys proved to be a huge success, their swift yet refined progress on the roads earning them the label of "The Silent Sports Car".
In 1936 the engine received a further makeover, resulting in a new capacity of 4,255cc, and the cars were now known as the 4� litre Bentley.
Two more photos of this particular car, built in 1935, are shown further down this page. If the current owner would like to get in touch, I'd like to feature a photo or two showing the car now, some 40 or so years later [update - the owner has been in touch, see further down the page]. I'm sure Les wouldn't mind copies of these older images finding their way to the current owner too.
Post-war, the first Bentley offered with standard factory coachwork would go on sale, the MkVI standard steel saloon of 1946.
The same Derby Bentley, but in 2010.Happily, my suspicions that the car was still around and in fine fettle were confirmed late in 2010, when the Bentley's owner - Mike - sent me both some photos of the car as it is today, and a write-up of this thoughts on it. Over to Mike ...
|"I bought this car in January of 2003 from the estate of the late Edgar Niblett who was the second principal owner. Delivery was taken by its first owner, Dr. John Everidge, in September of 1935 and it remained in the family until 1964 when it was loaned to Niblett to see if he liked it and until eventually he took it over. There is some interesting correspondence on this episode. The chassis was priced at UKP1100 and the body at UKP360, plus UKP4. 10. 0 for the Flamethrower spot lights, all less a reasonable allowance for an Invicta car and un-expired tax. I have all the log books together with the original owner's handbook and a comprehensive tool kit. The body is the usual Park Ward, all-aluminium, construction and is still in sound condition although the seats are somewhat tatty. The car has never had any major restoration work, merely on-going improvements but the engine was overhauled at the correct intervals. Total mileage is now 170,000.|
|I find the steering unpleasant although so-called experts say it is OK. I disagree with them here. I have driven other Derby Bentleys and their steering is subtly better than that of my car. The rear axle whines a little at low speeds but it's fine when cruising at 65 or so.|
|Although designed as a high performance sports car I never really thrash it, as a full engine overhaul would be financially beyond me. However, on a summer's night, roof open and a good 'A' road it can be quite exhilarating.|
|Unless one is very wealthy, these cars are only really practical for someone like myself who is sufficiently competent to carry out quite major work such as top overhauls. One benefit of this type of high quality machinery is that virtually every unit can be broken down into increasingly smaller parts, so making effective repair quite simple and relatively cheap. Just about any item from the smallest washer to a cylinder head is available - the latter, of course, not so cheap. I suppose my greatest pleasure is preparing for a Bentley Drivers Club function - cleaning and a bit of oil can work - and generally tinkering with it."|
|Thanks for the update on your cracking Bentley, much appreciated. Another visitor to the site sent over the story of his father's Derby Bentley, bought in dismantled state in the 1960s, his recollections of that great car can be found here.|
|Return to Old Photographs of Cars - Page 4.|
|"Then" and "Now" photos of a Derby Bentley fitted with Barker Sedanca Coupe coachwork can now be found on this page. A similar car, but bodied by Freestone & Webb, can be seen here.|
|www.oldclassiccar.co.uk (C) R. Jones. Website by ableweb.|