Bentley 4 1/4 Litre Drophead Coupe
Bentley rather discreetly announced the arrival of its new 4¼-Litre engine. In the February 1936 issue of The Autocar, a single paragraph simply stated, “an alternative, larger-capacity engine in the Bentley chassis – that is the latest development announced by Bentley Motors Ltd. For £50 extra, a 4¼ litre engine may be obtained in place of the 3½ litre. The chassis are otherwise identical. This move follows upon a number of requests for such a car. It will arouse huge interest.” A similar story appeared just one week later in The Motor.
Today we know that the 4¼ Litre Bentley was a replacement for the former 3½ Litre model. The subtle announcement was merely an attempt to appease customers who had already ordered cars equipped with the smaller motor and whose chassis were at the contracted coachbuilders. Chassis, gearbox, axle ratios and the like were duplicates of the 3½ Litre cars.
The previous 3½ Litre model was the first new Bentley following the acquisition of the firm by Rolls-Royce in 1931. Essentially a tuned twin-carburetted version of R-R’s tried-and-true 20/25, it was produced at the Derby Works and introduced to the public in 1931; it remained in production until the announcement of the new 4¼ Litre. The new motor became available in March 1936 alongside introduction of its sister car at Rolls-Royce Ltd., known as the 25/30. A total of 1,235 examples were produced through about May 1939 when the last model was completed.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2010 at the Battersea Evolution, London.
4,257 cc OHV inline six-cylinder engine, single-dry-plate clutch and four-speed manual transmission with synchromesh on third and fourth gears, forged front beam axle with half-elliptic leaf springs front and rear. Hydraulic Rolls-Royce dampers, additional ride control governing hydraulic pressure, aided by gearbox-driven pump, rod-operated drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126"
Source: RM Auctions