1937 Bentley 4¼ Liter

Competition between carmakers grew increasingly desperate during the dawn of the 1930s and in the shadow of the Great Depression. W.O. Bentley sought to refine his 8 Liter into the ultimate luxury carriage, however, his plans were sidelined by Bentley's collapse in 1931. Rolls-Royce was able to outflank rivals D. Napier & Son, and acquired Bentley (including W.O's services) for £125,257.

Work began on a new Bentley, built on a double-dropped chassis with a semi-elliptic leaf spring suspension and assisted by drum brakes. It used a tuned version of the Rolls-Royce 20/25's 3669cc overhead valve straight six breathing through twin SU carburetors, and fitted with a wider camshaft, strengthened connecting rods, and a higher compression ratio. This tuned engine offered around 120 horsepower, a fifty percent improvement, and backed by a four-speed manual gearbox. Additionally, it received a high-geared worm and nut steering and hydraulic dampers. Soon, the Bentley 3.5-liter became known as the 'Silent Sportscar.'

The first of what would become known as the 'Derby Bentleys' was launched in 1933, and continued the marque's sporting associations, but in a manner even more refined than before. Based on the contemporary Rolls-Royce 20/25, the 3½-Litre Bentley had a slightly shorter wheelbase at 10-feet, six-inches and fitted with a tuned version of the six-cylinder engine.

Bentley soon offered its customers the option of a larger 4.25 liter engine during the 1936 season. Priced at £50, a comparatively small sum compared to the cost of a basic chassis, the new unit proved so popular that the standard 3.5 litre powerplant was soon dropped. The Derby Bentley chassis was more than capable of handling the extra power and torque.

Of the 2,442 Derby Bentleys manufactured, almost 50 percent were bodied by Park Ward in a limited number of styles. A total of 1,234 chassis of the 4.25-liter specification were produced, with later-series chassis being fitted with overdrive transmissions. Production of the 2.25-liters lasted from 1936 to 1939.


by Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2019

Related Reading : Bentley 4¼ Litre History

Bentley Motors was purchased by Rolls-Royce in 1931. One of the first of the Bentley vehicles produced after this merge was the 1933 3-12 Liter, a vehicle similar to the Rolls Royce 2025. Bentley automobiles personified racing and the 3 12 Liter vehicle followed this tradition. It had a more powerful engine than its 2025 counterpart. This had been achieved by adding a second carburetor and modification....
Continue Reading >>
1937 Bentley 4¼ Liter vehicle information

Fixed Head Coupe
Coachwork: Vesters & Neirinck

Chassis Num: B156KT
Engine Num: E9BH
Build Num: B3044

Bentley entered into receivership in 1931 was acquired by Rolls-Royce. The Bentley Company is said to have been in this predicament due to their automobiles being so well designed that their list of clients dwindled due to not needing another vehicl....[continue reading]

1937 Bentley 4¼ Liter vehicle information

Drophead Coupe
Coachwork: Windovers

Bentley Motors was purchased by Rolls-Royce in 1931, and one of the first Bentleys produced at the Derby factory after the merger was the Bentley 3.5-liter. The larger Bentley 4.25-liter was introduced in 1936 and soon outsold the smaller capacity ca....[continue reading]

1937 Bentley 4¼ Liter vehicle information

Drop Head Coupe
Coachwork: Mulliner

In 1936, Bentley used a larger 4,257 cubic centimeter engine, attached to a four-speed gearbox. The extra 588 cubic centimeters gives this model the same acceleration potential in fourth gear that the previous car offered in third gear. This resulted....[continue reading]

1937 Bentley 4¼ Liter vehicle information

Sedanca Coupe
Coachwork: Gurney Nutting

Chassis Num: B70KT
Engine Num: M2BY

The first Rolls-Royce-built Bentley was the 3.5-Liter model and it was a more refined production than previously seen during the W.O. Bentley era. It earned the nickname, 'The Silent Sports Car' and was a welcomed addition to the quality-built sports....[continue reading]

1937 Bentley 4¼ Liter vehicle information

Saloon
Coachwork: Mann-Edgerton

In 1931, Rolls-Royce had acquired the Bentley Company when the latter was forced into receivership. By 1937, Bentleys were being manufactured in Rolls-Royce Cricklewood plant.....[continue reading]

1937 Bentley 4¼ Liter vehicle information

Fixed Head Coupe
Coachwork: Gurney Nutting

Chassis Num: B 4 5HM

This Derby Bentley 4 1/4 Litre Coupe wears coachwork by Gurney Nutting and Co. of Chelsea. It has an Art Deco design with pillarless construction and a split rear window, and a swooping waistline. It has a rear-mounted spare wheel and a sliding sunro....[continue reading]

1937 Bentley 4¼ Liter vehicle information

Sedanca Coupe
Coachwork: Gurney Nutting

In 1936, Madame Yvonne Cahen d'Anvers de Rothschild wanted a fast, luxurious, compact car that had all the style of her banker husband's pair of French-bodied Hispano-Suizas. H.R. Owen, London supplier of motorcars to the nobility and gentry, commiss....[continue reading]

1937 Bentley 4¼ Liter vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: B-42-KT

This two seat 4.25-liter Derby Bentley was sold through the London Bentley dealership of Jack Barclay, and delivered in July 1937 to its first owner, S.B. White. It was ordered with sporty yet graceful coachwork from Vanden Plas that is similar to tw....[continue reading]

1937 Bentley 4¼ Liter vehicle information

Open Two-Seater
Coachwork: Carlton Carriage Company

Chassis Num: B55KU
Engine Num: B7BK

Bentley produced 1,234 examples of their 4¼-Litre chassis; of those, 530 received coachwork by Park Ward, and most of them were steel saloons. Only a few Derby Bentley cars, however, received bodies from a more exclusive body builder named Carlton. T....[continue reading]

1937 Bentley 4¼ Liter vehicle information

All-Weather Cabriolet
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: B114KT
Engine Num: T7BP

Rolls-Royce acquired Bentley Motors from Walter O. Bentley in 1931. The 4 1/4 Litre Bentley was marketed as the 'Silent Sports Car.' They are often referred to as 'Derbys,' as they were built in Derbyshire, England. 1234 of these cars were built betw....[continue reading]

1937 Bentley 4¼ Liter vehicle information

All-Weather Tourer
Coachwork: Thrupp and Maberly

Chassis Num: B-39-KU
Engine Num: M 9 BZ

Bentley introduced the 4 ¼-liter model in 1936. Designated the 'K' Series, the new chassis was built in two consecutive runs, the 'KT' and the 'KU'. Derby works produced one hundred of each, with the KTs being numbered evenly and KUs being assigned o....[continue reading]

1937 Bentley 4¼ Liter vehicle information

Sports Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: B1KU
Engine Num: U4BR

The Derby Bentley was introduced in the fall of 1933. The 4.25-liter Derby Bentley had a half-inch increase in bore, raising displacement to 4 1/4 litres, coupled with a higher compression ratio, resulting in a 10 hp increase over its predecessor. ....[continue reading]

Fixed Head Coupe by Vesters & Neirinck
Chassis #: B156KT 
Drophead Coupe by Windovers
 
Drop Head Coupe by Mulliner
 
Sedanca Coupe by Gurney Nutting
Chassis #: B70KT 
Saloon by Mann-Edgerton
 
Fixed Head Coupe by Gurney Nutting
Chassis #: B 4 5HM 
Sedanca Coupe by Gurney Nutting
 
Roadster by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: B-42-KT 
Open Two-Seater by Carlton Carriage Company
Chassis #: B55KU 
All-Weather Cabriolet by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: B114KT 
All-Weather Tourer by Thrupp and Maberly
Chassis #: B-39-KU 
Sports Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: B1KU 


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