Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Vanden Plas
Captain Lawrie G. Bain, London, England (acquired from Winter Garden Garages Ltd. in 1937)Linread Ltd., Birmingham, England (acquired from the estate of the above in 1941)Will Archdale Esq., Birmingham, England (acquired from the above circa 1947)Daniel R. Nahum/O.F. Maud & Sons, London, England (acquired from the above in 1950)Edward Paul, Hollywood, California (acquired from the above circa 1958)John E. Milchick, Glendale, California (acquired from the above circa 1963)Private, Long-Term Owner, TexasCurrent Owner (acquired from the above)
Introduced in fall 1933, the Derby Bentley garnered deserved praise from the motoring press for its ideal blend of power, handling, braking, and driving ease. The Motor’s review of a Vanden Plas tourer concluded it was “a car for long journeys and high average speeds, for unobtrusive performance, for majestic pottering, for crowded roads; in fact, for interpreting every whim of the driver in an effortless way.” Nicknamed “The Silent Sports Car,” these Bentleys continue to have a loyal following who appreciate not only their mechanical prowess, but also their beauty and style. Offered here is an exciting, recently discovered 4 1/4 Litre model equipped with its original, most sporting Vanden Plas tourer coachwork.
The 4 1/4 Litre model represented the evolution of the original Derby Bentley featuring 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. This car, chassis B1KU, was the first of the KU series, and its chassis card specified Vanden Plas coachwork with that firm’s order book identifying the open sports tourer as body no. 3597. Vanden Plas’ tourer design evolved over the years, this example featuring pontoon front fenders and the distinctive beltline molding incorporating the signature dip midway through the door.
As documented by a wonderful history file supplied by the consignor, Captain Lawrie Graham Bain was B1KU’s first owner, taking delivery from Winter Garden Garages Ltd. in August 1937. Linread Ltd., a Birmingham manufacturer of automotive hardware, purchased the car in May 1941. The London agency of Jack Barclay Ltd. facilitated the sale, using images showing its soft top in both raised and lowered positions and noting mileage of 10,700. Will Archdale – the son of James Archdale, who headed a large manufacturer of machine tools – acquired the car around 1947, and by 1950, the car was acquired by O.F. Maud & Sons, a company owned by Daniel Nahum, passing to him directly in 1955. Mr. Nahum led a privileged life and reportedly owned six other Bentleys at the time. Traveling around the world, he frequently transported a car with him, and B1KU eventually made its way to America. In the late 1950s, this car was owned by RROC member Edward Paul of Hollywood, California, and appeared twice in that club’s publication, The Flying Lady. It then passed in the 1960s to fellow RROC member, John E. Milchick of Glendale, California. Having recently emerged from storage following long-term family ownership, B1KU is wonderfully patinated and still carries its original coachwork and drivetrain, finished in a pleasing combination of gray paintwork and black leather upholstery.
In its day, the Vanden Plas tourer was the preferred body style for the well-heeled customer desirous of a sporting experience. Bentley advertised it as “the ideal car for those who appreciate the thrill that only a fast open car can give.” Its next owner can look forward to validating that claim.