1938 Bentley 4 1/4 litre Overdrive James Young Sedanca Coupe.
Chassis number: B72MR
Registration number: FGW390
The Derby Bentley's had been unveiled to great acclaim at the August 1933 Ascot Races. The Derby Bentley was underpinned by a 'double dropped' chassis featuring all-round semi-elliptic suspension and four-wheel drum brakes. Powered by a more potent version of its Rolls-Royce 20/25 sibling's 3669cc OHV straight-six engine allied to four-speed manual transmission, the newcomer was soon christened the 'Silent Sportscar'.
Responding to increased competition from the likes of Alvis and Lagonda, Bentley gave its customers the option of a larger 4257cc engine during the 1936 season. Priced at £50, a comparatively modest sum compared to the cost of a basic chassis, the new unit proved so popular that the smaller capacity powerplant was soon dropped.
Arguably the pre-eminent British coachwork designer of the 1920s / 1930s, former Cunard Line employee A.F. McNeil jumped ship from Gurney Nutting to James Young shortly after the latter was acquired by Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealer Jack Barclay in 1937.
Blessed with a wonderful eye for proportion and detail, McNeil penned a supremely elegant Sedanca Coupe design that James Young fitted to just three Derby Bentley 'Overdrive' Series chassis (B72MR, B86MR and B97MX). The first of the trio, was chassis B72MR.
The subject of an article in Retroviseur magazine whilst owned by noted collector / dealer C.A.R. Howard and subsequently featured in his autobiography, the Bentley then passed to fellow dealer Gregor Fisken and on to Hugh Boucher Esq. of Sittingbourne, Kent. Mr Boucher had Derby Bentley specialist Blackmore Engineering Company refurbish the suspension, rejuvenate the heater, fettle the wiring and restore the dynamo etc during January 1997. The following month saw chassis B72MR entrusted to James E. Pearce Specialist Coachbuilders who fitted flashing indicators, rehung the doors and smartened its overall appearance. Further improved by Sargeants of Goudhurst at an indicated 92,733 miles during August 1997, the Bentley was serviced and sold via Frank Dale & Stepson to Dutch collector J.W. ten Ham some two years later.
The Sedanca roof above the front occupants folds away neatly and the doors not only open and close easily but also sit well within their apertures. Understood to have covered circa 13,000 miles since its last major overhaul, the 4.25 litre straight-six engine runs incredibly smoothly and pulls stongly befitting the moniker "The Silent Sports Car."
The car is finished in lovely Masons Black paint in fine order throughout. To the interior is Beige Connolly hide with matching Beige carpets, all again in wonderful condition. The last word in elegance this car will fit well in any collection & will give great pleasure when driven.
This stunning car was supplied new to George Sinclair Brodrick Esq. - grandson of American railway magnate, Jay Gould, who was deemed the world's richest man in his lifetime.
The car is one of just three Derby Bentley 'Overdrive' chassis to be bodied as a Sedanca Coupe by James Young. The design is the work of renowned stylist A.F. McNeil. The car has been the subject of much restoration work during the 1990s and resident in a European collection before being recently repatriated.
The proud young owner of this magnificent Bentley, capable of 107mph, George Brodrick, who died at 88 had a gilded life. His obituary in The Telegraph noted that he 'mixed dangerous cocktails' and 'went up to Trinity, Cambridge, where he arrived in his Bentley accompanied by his chauffeur. He hired an impoverished young gentleman to attend all the lectures on his behalf and provide him with a comprehensive set of notes three weeks before his Finals, which he sailed through'.
George had been schooled at Eton where he excelled at games and had Peter Carington, the future Foreign Secretary, as his fag; Lord Carrington remembered him as "an extraordinarily nice person - our Number 1 hero". Awarded an MBE for military service whilst serving in the Irish Guards during World War Two, Brodrick sold the Bentley back to Jack Barclay during November 1940. After he was demobbed, he and his wife Mhari (nee Gourlay), whom he had married in 1940 in the Guards Chapel, settled at Eastwell, where he farmed 3,000 acres.
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