Walter O. Bentley's company was purchased by Rolls-Royce, Ltd in 1931 and moved from Cricklewood, London to Rolls' Derby works. The Bentley cars produced from 1933 through 1939 are known as the 'Derby Bentleys.' The first of these were powered by 3.5-liter engine with overhead valves. The 126-inch bare chassis left the factory to be bodied by outside coachbuilders.
By 1936 the bodies had grown in size and weight and a new power-plant was required. To provide more horsepower, a 4257-cc engine was offered. A few of the 3.5-liter cars were converted at the factory to the larger power-plant. With permission from Hispano-Suiza, serov-assisted mechanical brakes were placed on all four corners of the car.
This 1939 Bentley 4.25 Liter Vanvooren Pillarless Saloon was ordered on June 17th of 1939. It was shipped to France where it was given the Vanvooren pillarless saloon body.
Achille Vanvooren had been in business since 1910. The facilities were located at Courbevoie, northwest of Paris. In 1919 he sold to partners Daste and Guillemet. Daste stayed with the company until 1932 when he left for Hispano-Suiza. Vanvooren's most common customers at this time were Hispano-Suiza and Rolls-Royce. Vanvooren bodied more Derby Bentley's than any other coachbuilder from outside of Britain.
This particular 4.25-liter Bentley was one of the last constructed from the 200 M-Series. These cars were equipped with overdrive gearbox's and a Marles steering box.
In total, Vanvooren bodied just seven of the M-Series cars. B3MX was the last constructed and the only one that has survived. The vehicles first owner was Jacques Bollinger, head of Champagne Bollinger, a renowned French vintners. After his death in 1941, his widow retained the car for a number of years before selling in 1949 to Mr. E. Phillips, the British Consul at Biarritz.
The car passed through several more owners until coming under the care of Andrew McGill of the UK in 1983. The car was completely restored and finished in French Bleu. Ownership later passed to Jules Heumann of the United States and a former Pebble Beach co-chair.
This one-off 1939 Bentley 4.25 Liter Vanvooren Pillarless Saloon was offered for sale at the 2006 Gooding & Company Auction held in Pebble Beach, Ca. It was estimated to fetch between $160,000-$225,000. At the conclusion of the auction, this vehicle was left unsold.