The Salon Privé Sale 2017

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1934 Derby Bentley DH Coupé by Park Ward

Lot No.: 221

Registration: AHY 404
Chassis Number: B-33-BL
Engine Number: A7BA
Number of cylinders: 6
CC: 3643
Year of Manufacture: 1934
Estimate (£): 110,000 - 130,000
(+buyer's premium of 15% including VAT @ 20%)

Launched at Ascot in August 1933, the first of the 'Derby Bentleys', as they would come to be known, continued the marque's sporting associations but in a manner even more refined than before. Even W O Bentley himself acknowledged that the 3.5-Litre model was the finest ever to bear his name. Based on the contemporary Rolls-Royce 20/25hp, the 3.5-Litre Bentley was slightly shorter in the wheelbase and employed a tuned (115bhp) twin-SU-carburettor version of the former's overhead-valve six. Add to this already remarkable package, an all-synchromesh four-speed gearbox and servo assisted brakes, and the result was a vehicle offering the driver effortless sports car performance in almost absolute silence. 'The Silent Sports Car', as it was swiftly dubbed, had few peers as a tireless long-distance tourer, combining as it did traditional Rolls-Royce refinement with Bentley performance and handling. 
The Derby Bentley was, of course, an exclusively coach-built automobile and as befitted its sporting nature, was almost always fitted with owner-driver Saloon or Drophead Coupé coachwork, the 'standard' designs being the work of Park Ward.  Founded in 1919, Park Ward had forged its, not inconsiderable, reputation bodying Bentleys, Rolls-Royces and other quality makes, and in 1933 received the ultimate 'vote of confidence' when Rolls-Royce bought a minority stake in the Willesden-based coachbuilder, taking full control six years later. 

Silverstone Auctions are delighted to be offering this 1934 Park Ward Derby Bentley 3.5-Litre Drophead Coupé here at Salon Privé. This aristocratic sporting Bentley is from long-term English ownership and, appropriately enough, was supplied new to Sir G. Stanley White who was joint-founder, with his father and uncle, of what became the Bristol Aeroplane Company. He served as its Managing Director from 1911 to 1954 (Boxkite to Type 188) and was in overall control of the Bristol Aeroplane Company when its Car Division was formed. The car's second owner was celebrated pianist and society beauty Lady Beecham, wife of Sir Thomas Beecham, well-known conductor and impresario, so it's no wonder that this car looks completely at home in the grounds of Blenheim Palace.
Six years ago the ParkWard Derby Bentley was purchased by a Spanish collector and exported to Spain but it appears to have been scarcely used during his tenure. Having agreed to sell the car recently it was collected in Madrid and transported back to the UK. A long test drive in the heat of the Spanish Plains was carried out, and according to our vendor "the Bentley never once got hot and drove beautifully with a smooth silent powerful engine. The temperature stayed between 50 & 60 degrees and the oil pressure was excellent". We also understand that "The Park Ward Derby Bentley starts instantly and pulls strongly in all gears with 60mph cruising being effortless". 
AHY 404 is finished in a period ‘Oxford and Cambridge' Blue two tone combination and the paintwork appears in good condition. The dark blue 'double duck' soft roof, complete with matching hood bag, looks excellent and all the brightwork looks fresh. The interior is absolutely period with gently patinated Cream leather extending to the door cards and the carpets are in Oxford Blue. The Walnut dashboard and door cappings have all been removed and refinished.
During its restoration, it's obvious that no expense has been spared returning this rakish 'Derby' to the way it would have looked sat on a gravel drive outside an English country house during the Thirties.
The car is accompanied by its original buff log book, factory build records, hand written correspondence from previous owners, a complete set of MOT Certificates showing the Bentley (from 1978) to have covered less than 1,000 miles per year during the last three decades. There are also some post restoration RREC bulletins/magazines with pictures of  AHY 404 being shown, and winning "Best in Class" prior to its sojourn in Spain. 
A classic Derby Bentley by a renowned coachbuilder in lovely restored condition and ready to be enjoyed.