1935 Bentley 3½ Litre 3 Position Drophead Coupé by Thrupp & Maberly

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1935 Bentley 3½ Litre 3 Position Drophead Coupé by Thrupp & Maberly

2.00
  • Ordered new by the editor of The Autocar
  • 1 of 2 Drophead Coupés built by Thrupp & Maberly
  • 20 year restoration to original specification
  • Featured in The Autocar in April 1935
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In 1931, Bentley Motors was on the brink of bankruptcy and negotiations with Napier & Son seemed to be pointing to a takeover that would save the marque. Just as it seemed the deal was in the bag a new interested party going by the name of the British Central Equitable Trust outbid Napier at the eleventh hour. It was only after the deal had been settled and all contracts signed that it was revealed that Bentley’s saviour was in fact their arch-rival Rolls-Royce.

W.O. himself was kept on until 1935, during which time he helped develop the new models. These were to be produced at Rolls-Royce’s factory in Derby and as such became known as Derby Bentleys. The brief of the new Derby Bentley was to combine the sporting prowess of a Bentley with the refinement and comfort of a Rolls-Royce. Using the 3.7 litre straight six from the Rolls-Royce 20/25 as a basis, the new powerplant featured sportier cam profiles, two S.U. carburettors and a higher compression crossflow cylinder head. The chassis was extremely strong and as a result, there was no need for cross-bracing which in turn meant the chassis was much lighter than those of its competitors. The gearbox was a four speed unit with synchromesh on 3rd and 4th gears. The brakes were servo assisted all round. This combination of power and refinement was exactly what Bentley was aiming for and while some of the more traditional clients were not impressed by the new Bentley 3½ Litre, the majority were. Even W.O. himself was reported as saying he would: “rather own this Bentley than any other car produced under that name”.

Production of the 3½ Litre ran from 1933 to 1936, during which time a total of 1,177 examples were produced, all of which carried coachwork from various coachbuilders from around the world with nearly half of the production being bodied by Park Ward. 

Chassis number B110 DG was ordered new by the Managing Editor of The Autocar, Geoffrey Smith, who commissioned Thrupp and Maberly to build a special order body, listed in their records as a ‘Sedanca Coupé’. Soon after being delivered the car was featured in The Autocar in April 1935 showing drawings of the car and discussing its colours and features. Some of the special order features include: twin fillers on either side, longer exhaust with cut-out, silver faced AT instrument dials and a very rare Philips radio.

BLK 5 as featured in Bentley The Silent Sports Car 1931-1941 by Michael Ellman-Brown

BLK 5 as featured in Bentley The Silent Sports Car 1931-1941 by Michael Ellman-Brown

As a result of its special order body and the prominent first owner, BLK 5 is featured in a number of Bentley books including: 

Bentley The Silent Sports Car 1931-1941 by Michael Ellman-Brown

Bentley Fifty Years of the Marque by Johnnie Green

Bentley 3½ & 4¼ Litre 1933-1940 in Detail by Nick Walker

 

Bottom Photo: B110 DG as featured in Bentley 3½ & 4¼ Litre 1933-1940 in Detail by Nick Walker

Bottom Photo: B110 DG as featured in Bentley 3½ & 4¼ Litre 1933-1940 in Detail by Nick Walker

The original chassis records that accompany the car show that in 1936 a Mr. A.E. Jackson of Hessle in East Yorkshire bought BLK 5 for £1,260. By the early 1950’s BLK 5 is in the ownership of a Mr. Jacobs of Streatly, Berkshire. There are letters on file from the son of Mr. Jacobs who fondly remembers his mother driving him and his brother to school and demonstrating the exhaust cut out “…which allowed us to make one beautiful roar through the narrow streets of some village.”

The exact history from here is not known but we do know the car ended up in the USA and in 1989 BLK 5 was brought back to the UK and was sold via Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialists, Ristes Motor Company to a Mr. Henrik Baungaard in January 1990. Mr. Baungaard is the man we have to thank for returning BLK 5 to her original glory. Over the next 20 years Mr. Baungaard embarked on a no expense spared, ground up restoration using some of the finest restorers in the UK including the hugely respected Fiennes Engineering. Looking at the correspondence and invoices on file, Mr. Baungaard would not settle for anything other than absolute perfection and originality. He travelled to the USA to try and locate an original Philips radio as would have been fitted originally, but unfortunately after speaking to every expert in the field, it would appear no more of that type existed. He spent a small fortune completing the original tool kit with correct tools to the car. According to the current owner, when the engine was rebuilt he didn’t feel it was befitting enough of the car’s reputation as ‘The Silent Sports Car’ and sent it back to be improved!

Tragically, after so many years of restoration and making sure the car was exactly to original specification, Mr. Baungaard was diagnosed with terminal cancer and the decision was made to sell the car. The current owner was invited to the Baungaard residence on three separate occasions before Henrik was satisfied that he was a suitable buyer of his beloved Derby Bentley.

Today BLK 5 presents beautifully and, as Henrik intended, exactly as she was when new. This really is a unique motor car with a fascinating history and bullet proof provenance. Whether it be a concours, a rally or a continental tour, this wonderful motor car is perfect for anything the next owner requires of her.