1935 Bentley 3½ Vanden Plas Sports Saloon

Vendor supplied images

Highlights

  • Mostly complete sympathetic restoration project - it is believed that the body has never been separated from the chassis
  • 52 years spent in South Africa’s dry climate has helped preserve it very well
  • Vanden Plas bodywork and engine compartment sympathetically restored
  • Original and complete leather interior, patinated and ready to restore
  • Re-imported to the UK, with all duties paid and a NOVA certificate supplied

The Appeal

After the great W.O’s contract to Bentley expired in 1935, he left the company he had founded for good, ushering in the era known as the Derby Bentleys - in recognition of their relocation from Cricklewood to their new parent company Rolls-Royce’s workshops in the East Midlands. Fortunately, the Bentley name would still retain its reputation for superb engineering, effortless style, and rock steady reliability under its new management.
We’re delighted to offer this compelling restoration project, with much of the work already completed. We have here a particularly elegant 1935 Vanden Plas Sports Saloon, finished fetchingly in two-tone grey. Originally a UK car, it made its way to South Africa in 1971 and remained there for 52 years. It has benefited enormously from this time in a dry climate and the vendor believes that the body has never been separated from the chassis, which is very rare for a motor car of this vintage.
The bodywork is in fantastic condition and along with the engine compartment, it has been sympathetically restored. Inside, the patinated original upholstery remains. Although in need of restoration, it should certainly be usable and adds to the car’s impressive originality. 
The Bentley is mostly complete and much of the challenging work has already been carried out. If you’d like to be the person who returns this majestic motor car to the road, then be sure not to miss this excellent opportunity.

The History and Paperwork

  • Originally UK supplied with registration ‘BOL 505’
  • Imported to South Africa in 1971, to join the ranks of a Bentley collection
  • Then sold to another South African classic car enthusiast who owned it for the next 44 years
  • The following owners began the restoration work although were unable to complete the project due to their ailing health
  • No written record of prior restoration work exists, although it is clear to see what has been completed
  • Now back in the UK, with all import duties paid and a NOVA certificate attained, ready for re-registration
This 1935 Bentley Vanden Plas Sports Saloon spent its early years here in the UK under the registration ‘BOL 505’. In 1971, the car was acquired by South African Bentley enthusiast Tony White and shipped to South Africa in order to complement his fleet of early Bentleys including a pair of 1928 4 ½ litre tourers. Soon after, the car was sold to another South African classic car enthusiast who would retain the car for the next 44 years.

It was then bought by another classic car enthusiast in South Africa who began work on the car, the previous owner to him carrying out the aesthetic restoration of the cars body as well as the overhaul of the all important straight-six engine, however due to the previous owners failing health there are no records or recollection of what work that was carried out.

Throughout its 52-year history in the southern hemisphere, the dry conditions have worked to preserve this beautiful British motorcar and meant that it has always been road registered with its previous owners.

The Interior

  • Original, patinated leather upholstery
  • Seemingly complete and unrestored
  • Much of the original interior looks to be salvageable
One of this Bentley's greatest assets is that its original interior remains seemingly complete and in good order for its age. 
Naturally, there’s plenty of patination and wear accrued over the years, although much of the leather looks to be salvageable and the vendor reports it to still be soft to the touch. The dashboard has fared well too, and exhibits some nice ageing which would be nice to keep when the remainder of the interior is restored. Some of the other woodwork is in worse order, so will require replacement. There’s minimal wear or deterioration to the controls, switchgear or instruments, and no evidence of later additions or modifications so far as we could see.

The Exterior 

  • Bodied by Vanden Plas
  • It is believed that the body and chassis have never been parted
  • The bodywork has previously been restored and painted two-tone grey
  • Patinated period-correct wire wheels
  • Some pitting to the brightwork
  • Mostly complete
The exterior of this Sports Saloon is in superb condition with very minimal work left to do. Some of the original components are missing such as the spare wheel, P100 headlight internals and sidelights, however it appears otherwise complete and in very good, partially restored order. The body itself has been refinished in this very handsome two-tone grey scheme and the paintwork all looks to be in finer order. 
All the bodywork is straight, with good panel alignment and door fit. There’s no corrosion in sight and we’re assured the chassis is in good condition to match. There’s some pitting evident to some of the brightwork, but it is in generally good order and eminently restorable should the next owner wish to return its factory shine. The period correct wheels are showing their age, yet are in great order, ready for restoration.

The Mechanics 

  • Cosmetically restored engine compartment
  • ‘3½’ straight-six (although their true capacity was closer to 3.7-litres)
  • Twin SU carburettors with a crossflow cylinder head
  • Four-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh on the upper two ratios
  • We understand that the engine was previous overhauled and then aesthetically restored - although there is no record of the specific work that was carried out
The Bentley 3½ was equipped with a straight-six based on that used in the Rolls-Royce 20/25, although equipped with a more sporting camshaft, SU carburettors and a crossflow cylinder head. This provided ample performance to make this car worthy of the moniker ‘Sports Saloon’, and four-speed gearbox with 3rd / 4th gear synchromesh provided an engaging drive for budding ‘Bentley Boys’ of the period. 
We understand that this car’s engine has been overhauled as part of the restoration work, although no written record exists detailing exactly what was carried out. The engine and under bonnet compartment have both been aesthetically restored and look really smart as a result. We recommend the next owner carry out a thorough inspection of the mechanicals as part of the continued recommissioning, although we suspect much of the challenging work has already been completed.

Summary

For those seeking a distinguished pre-war motor car, this Bentley is a particular compelling project. With much of the sympathetic restoration work already complete and with the car in a fantastic state of origins preservation, we’re deeply envious of the next owner who shall have the pleasure of returning this grand old Vanden Plas Sports Saloon to its former glory.

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1935
  • Make Bentley
  • Model 3 1/2 litre
  • Colour Grey
  • Odometer 69,420 Miles
  • Engine size 3500
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Trade
  • Town Woodbridge
  • Location Suffolk
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
24 bids
  • Go•••• £13,800 29/08/23
  • bl•••• £13,550 29/08/23
  • Go•••• £13,300 29/08/23
  • bl•••• £13,050 29/08/23
  • Go•••• £12,800 29/08/23
  • Ph•••• £12,550 29/08/23
  • Ad•••• £12,500 29/08/23
  • Ad•••• £12,250 29/08/23
  • Ph•••• £12,000 29/08/23
  • Ad•••• £11,999 29/08/23
Message C&C Auction Team

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