1938 Bentley 4¼-Litre Brougham de Ville
Coachwork by James Young Sole Example Exhibited at the 1938 Earls Court Motor Show
Registration n° FGW 386
Chassis n° B38MR
Engine n° E4BK
With its 4¼-litre engine, overdrive gearbox and unique James Young coachwork, 'B38MR' represents the Derby Bentley in its ultimate and most desirable incarnation. Specially built for the James Young stand at the 1938 Earls Court Motor Show, this Brougham de Ville is attributed to that great A F McNeil, arguably the most influential British coachwork designer of the inter-war years, who had joined James Young from Gurney Nutting in 1937 when it became part of the Jack Barclay group. Though Bentley's chassis records curiously refer to this car as a 'Barouche de Ville', the Brougham nomenclature was particularly appropriate for the James Young company, whose eponymous founder had taken over the established business of J K Hunter of Bromley, Kent in 1860 and became famous as the maker of the popular 'Bromley Brougham'.
This Brougham de Ville was illustrated in the 'show numbers' of both The Autocar and The Motor. It also featured in Jack Barclay's advertising and in the company's colour catalogue, a photocopy of which is on file. It is interesting to note that it was originally described in the publicity brochure as having a sliding panel. This is not the case, as the car was originally built with a detachable three-piece section, which has its own compartment in the boot. This supremely elegant motor car remains the sole example of this model. 'B38MR' has featured in several books including 'Bentley: 50 Years of the Marque' by Johnnie Green and 'Bentley - The 1938/39 Overdrive Cars' by Messrs Frankel and Strang. 'B38MR' was bought at the 1938 Motor Show by the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, who retained the Bentley until shortly after the outbreak of World War Two, when it passed into the hands of (Sir) Richard Costain of Dolphin Square, London SW1. A civil engineer whose company was busily engaged in building airfields and factories throughout the country, Costain apparently used the car throughout the war, then sold it to Sir Geoffrey Winterbotham in 1946.
Possessing coachwork by one of the most exceptional coachbuilders, and a fascinating history, 'B38MR' remains a rare and significant representative of one of most exclusive and desirable of all Post-Vintage British Thoroughbreds: The Derby Bentley