Each Model ever built
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Car of the Month Selection
of the Month - December 1998
Bentley 3 ½ Litre, 1934, #B57BN, Park Ward Sports Saloon
delivered in October 1934 the price of this Bentley 3 ½ Litre with a four
door Sports Saloon body by Park Ward was £1,460. Following a most
detailed ground-up restoration the Bentley is now in "as new"
condition. Hence its value according to present market conditions has
risen to a certain degree.
is the question of course, what does one receive for that amount of money?
A chassis cum engine with a quality second to none as regards comfort and
roadholding, performance and handling. At their time setting a standard
which was the envy of competitors. As regards the coachwork by Park Ward
this was immensely strong and rattle-proof due to that company's patented
aluminium front and centre pillars in combination with extensive use of
steel for the bottom sides and arches, for the crossmembers, footwells
etc. Most other coachbuilder's still used techniques, which dated back to
the era of horse-drawn vehicles, i.e. a wooden skeleton was clad with
panels. In general that was no minor work, however it resulted for example
in rather thick pillars to gain sufficient stability. If proper care of
the wood was neglected or the skeleton for years exposed to the influence
of damp or water, the structure weakened at an alarming rate.
regards quality of body and interior the standards of Rolls-Royce had to
be complied with, as the Bentley 3 ½ Litre was the first Bentley built by
Rolls-Royce after the marque had been taken over. Cars were built at the
Derby factory side by side with R-R Phantom II and R-R 20/25 H.P. It is a
fact that the Bentley's engine was developed from that of the R-R 20/25
H.P. though it was a more powerful unit due its specially developed
crossflow-cylinderhead, re-profiled camshaft, twin SU carburettors and
some fine tuning.
All in all the Bentley 3 ½ Litre was a tremendously fine design and
basis for a most promising future. The press left no doubt that the highly
advanced Park Ward body did harmonize extremely well with the basic
chassis and engine as delivered by the factory. "Grace, comfort and
superb finish" were the key words when Great Britain's leading motor
magazine "The Motor" in their issue from 20th November 1934
published a report about "The Park Ward Bentley Saloon".
owner of this "Car of the Month December" has spent thousands of
hours of work over several years on a ground-up restoration - and as an
engineer and master-craftsman he was the right man for this job. The
result is perfect down to the least detail - and it is exactly this
Bentley with chassis number #B57BN which is shown in colour on page 74 of
the new book Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars -
From the Dawn of the 20th Century into the New Millennium.