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1934 Bentley 3 1/2 Litre Three Position Drophead Coupe by Thrupp & Maberly

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  Lot #225  (Sale Order: 41 of 78)  
Sold for: £83,000.00 to onsite
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This remarkably original ‘Derby’ Bentley 3½ litre has been dry stored for 50 years. Its last MoT shows April 1965 and since then it has lived in the workshop of a Renault dealership in North London. The Bentley Drivers Club has confirmed from factory records, that AYK789 was sold new to Esmond Harmsworth (1898-1978) who was the 3rd son of Viscount Rothermere, founder of the Daily Mail, and Esmond took delivery of the Bentley in April 1934. Chassis B185 AE is the 93rd ‘Derby’ built and the third with a Thrupp and Maberley body, in this case a three-position – fully folded or ‘De Ville’ - 4/5 seater drop head coupe in black with black leather. As well as the usual Lucas P100 headlamps, one-shot lubrication and thermostatic radiator vanes, the additional equipment included ‘heavy duty’ bumpers (with harmonic stabilisers) and factory wheel discs. This handsome, restrained body would have cost Rothermere an additional £500 on top of the £1100 for the bare chassis as delivered from Derby to Thrupp and Maberly’s works at Cricklewood. Its history between 1934 and 1952 is sadly unknown (the DVLA don’t have the pre-war logbook history on the car), but as a press baron, Viscount Rothermere would probably have had access to enough rationed fuel to keep using the Bentley, if necessary, throughout the hostilities. What we do know however, is that at some point it found its way to Mascot Motors and in November 1952 was sold to Alfred Guy Lever Mason of South Gate for £800. Mr Mason was the works director of the Standard Telephone Company, and was a very particular man who generated a large amount of correspondence about the car, although he apparently did most of the routine maintenance himself. The impressive history file starts with a long letter from Mason to Commander Kellner (retd.) of Mascot Motors stipulating that before delivery to his house in Southgate he wanted all the rattles sorted, a new windscreen, the electrics repaired, and a three month warranty on the engine. The mileage was 37,000 at that stage and Mason put another 30,000 miles on the Bentley as a weekend car between 1952 and his death in 1965. During that time, AYK789 was looked after by L.G Motors of 177 Archway Road, Highgate who, on average, saw the car three times a year for routine repairs and adjustments. L. G Motors was a family run business headed by Arthur Gold, who later became Sir Arthur Gold having been knighted in 1984 for his services to national and international sports administration. As well as leading British teams to the Olympics, Gold became known as sport’s most vehement anti-drugs campaigner. Arthur Gold bought the Bentley from Mr. Mason’s widow in 1965 for £180, and an engineer’s report he wrote on AYK789 at the time, shows that it was still in very sound condition in the mid-sixties and fully usable. His son Jonathan Gold recalls that the family used the car for the Summer of that year before embarking on a ‘light restoration’ which actually only got as far as removing half the paint and sending the bumpers and all the other bright work off to the chromers. The re-plated parts were returned and are still wrapped in 1967 newspaper in the boot. Meanwhile L.G Motors had changed its name to A A Gold, and became an early British Renault franchise. When the business moved to premises in Belsize Park in the 70s, the Bentley went with it, always with the intention that that it would be put back together someday. Arthur Gold became increasingly distracted with his work with athletics administration (many of his notes in the Bentley file are written on the back of British Amateur Athletic Board headed paper), and his successful Renault sales and servicing business and inevitably the Bentley was not a priority, although the file shows he made various attempts to find parts in the seventies and get the project under way again. As presented today, it is still largely in the sort of condition one might expect of a car left untouched since the 50s. Admittedly the fabric of the three position hood has disintegrated and the alloy body has acquired lots of small dents and decades of workshop dust, yet the doors – ash framed with twin catches - have not dropped, the windows still wind smoothly up and down and most of the original tools are still fitted neatly into the underside of the boot lid. It has its original leather and carpets, although the cushion of the driver’s seat has gone missing along with the door cards. The woodwork is very presentable and the dash is complete with the, presumably, post-war addition of an ex RAF Kollsmann altimeter, for driving across the Alps to the Italian Lakes. There is a 50's type Smiths heater under the dashboard and the instrumentation and switchgear is complete with the usual advance/retard and choke controls on the steering wheel boss and a mechanical linkage to dip the headlamps.

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This item is part of Salon Privé Auction
 Friday, Sep 4, 2015 | 5:30 PM  EUR (BST)
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1934 Bentley 3 1/2 Litre Three Position Drophead Coupe by Thrupp & Maberly
1934 Bentley 3 1/2 Litre Three Position Drophead Coupe by Thrupp & Maberly
Lot number: 225
Seller: Silverstone Auctions
Event: Salon Privé Auction
Ends: Friday, September 4 | 5:30 PM  EUR (BST)

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