1934 Park Ward Derby Bentley 3½-Litre Drophead Coupé
For Sale: A beautiful example of Park Ward’s deft touch with the 3½ in a delightful colour scheme and benefiting from a substantial mechanical refurbishment.
Produced in tandem with Rolls-Royce in the 1930s, Bentley motor cars from this period are commonly referred to as ‘Derbys’, since they were built in the shared Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motors Works in Derbyshire. The Bentley 3½-litre, powered by a larger and sportier version of the small Rolls-Royce 20/25 engine, was introduced to the public at Ascot Race Course in August 1933. It was well-received by the press and public alike, and 1,191 were sold between 1933 and 1937, overlapping the 4¼-Litre Bentley, which replaced it.
To limit re-tooling costs, the Bentley 3½-Litre was based on the Rolls-Royce 20/25 HP chassis and the engine was re-configured from the 20/25’s 2¾-litre unit by increasing displacement, adding a new cross-flow head, twin SU carburettors, higher compression ratio and a reprofiled camshaft.
Bentley enthusiasts have always recognized that the quality of the car is on par with everything else Rolls-Royce has produced, yet the 3½-Litre Bentley also provides brisk acceleration and responsive handling, and with a top speed of over 90 mph, its low-revving engine can cruise all day at sensible speeds being able to keep up with modern traffic. These cars are ideal for the serious enthusiast who loves to drive, especially the models fitted with early lightweight coachwork, like this example and are an ideal introduction to the world of top-down Bentley motoring.
We are delighted to be able to offer this simply beautiful Park Ward 3½-Litre DHC superbly presented in Light Grey over Dove Grey with excellent chrome and brightwork. The interior is equally impressive with the seating tightly retrimmed in dark brown leather, matching door cards and hood cover, Cinnamon carpets and unmarked Walnut veneers to the dashboard and door caps and the black Mohair soft-top and chrome irons are in top form.
We understand that in 2011 the car underwent an extensive mechanical restoration which included a complete engine rebuild (refurbished cylinder head and block, new pistons and bearings) along with a new clutch assembly and other ancillaries including the crank damper, oil pump and rebuilt distributor. The mechanical restoration continued with a chassis refurbishment which included an overhaul of the front and rear axle, brakes and suspension and finally the one-shot lubrication system.
From the car’s history file it appears that over £50,000 was invested in this charming ‘3½’ to make it go, stop and handle as well as it looks, which is saying something.
In recent years the Derby Bentley has come into great favour with collectors worldwide, not just British car enthusiasts. Few pre-war cars carry more graceful coachwork, nor offer more fun behind the wheel, than the Derby Bentleys of the 1930s and this delightful, show-quality, Park Ward Drophead would make an ideal entry into the world of the ‘The silent sports car’.