1938 Bentley 4 ¼ Litre (Overdrive)

Year : 1938
Make : Bentley
Model : 4 1/4 Litre (Overdrive)
Coachbuilder : James Young
Body Type : Sedanca Coupe
Colour : Green and Black
Trim : Tan Leather
Technical Data : Four speed manual gearbox, 6 cylinder in-line engine, 4.25 litres displacement, 4257cc capacity. Servo-assisted brakes.


During the late 1920s and early 1930s Bentley ran into grave financial trouble and by 1931 Rolls-Royce had stepped in and bought the assets and goodwill of the defunct company and formed a new one, Bentley Motors (1931) Ltd. Rolls-Royce had considered the Bentley marque to be a growing threat to their future success, but following their purchase decided to continue the Bentley name, albeit under their own stewardship, taking the company in an entirely new direction with the creation of the Silent Sports Car or Derby Bentley. In 1933 the new Bentley 3.5 Litre model was released and was an instant success. The combination of effortless power and style met with almost universal praise. It was powered by a developed twin carburettor version of Rolls-Royces own 20/25 model and was installed in a low 126 inch wheelbase chassis that basically remained unaltered until the cessation of production in 1939 due to the outbreak of hostilities. Synchromesh was present on third and fourth gears and the Derbys were fitted with a cross flow cylinder head and superb servo assisted brakes, encapsulating all of the perfection of Rolls-Royce engineering in this small sporting Bentley. Fitting of individual coachwork by approved body builders continued in true Rolls-Royce fashion giving potential buyers a great deal of choice in the look of their new motor car. 1936 saw further improvements with the introduction of the 4.25 Litre model when production of the 3.5 Litre unit ceased. Steady development continued throughout the cars production and in late 1938 even more power was obtained when the overdrive models were introduced, which were known as the MX/MR series cars. The original Bentley sales literature outlined the key improvements that improved the overdrive cars performance which included the provision of an overdrive gearbox which would allow the car to attain a greater maximum speed without exceeding maximum engine revolutions. The steering was of improved design, providing greater control under all conditions. Modified gear ratios and slight engine modifications also improved acceleration under certain conditions. The slower running engine coupled with the over drive top gear resulted in greater silence and smoothness. And finally centralised chassis lubrication and automatic shock absorbers with over-riding hand control were fitted. The MX/MR models were truly the ultimate incarnation on the Derby chassis and are still very much sought after some seventy years on. Just two hundred chassis examples were created, finding their way to lucky owners with a variety of coachwork designs. Chassis No B38MR was originally completed in November of 1938 fitted with sedanca coupe coachwork by James Young and shown on their stand at the Earls Court Motor Show. It was one of two cars built to this style, listed as a Brougham de Ville, this title referring to James Youngs Bromley Broughams of the Victorian era. An exert from the James Young show catalogue from 1938 reads Barclay design town coupe, seating accommodation for 4/5 persons and with fixed rear quarter and sliding panel de-ville extension; a single wide door on either side gives easy access to front and rear seats. The first owner is understood to have been the 4th Marquess of Dufferin and Ava. The car changed hands five times between 1938 and 1957 before being shipped to the United States where it remained for almost thirty years before returning to the UK in the late 1980s. It was supplied by Charles Howard in the late 1990s and improved and restored by many noted Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialists over the preceding years with extensive cosmetic and mechanical works undertaken. All the details, invoices and correspondence relating to the works undertaken is available in the cars history file. Chassis No B38MR is one of just two cars built to this design, twinned with Chassis No B100MR. It is in very good order throughout following the works over the past twenty years and is complete with handbook and wheel changing tools.

If you would like to make an enquiry about this vehicle, please contact us by phone on (00 852) 2285 1888 or by email at enquiry@frankdale.com.hk