A Passion for Elegance | Lot 106
1937 Bentley 4¼-Litre Pillarless Saloon by Vanden Plas
CHF115,000 | Sold
19 June 2021
- Very handsome and elegant original Vanden Plas coachwork
- Supplied new to cinema magnate and enthusiast, C.J. Donada
- Formerly owned by noted enthusiast Jean Gorjat
- Well-maintained older restoration in charming condition
- Accompanied by copies of its order and build paperwork
Bentley 4¼-Litre chassis number B127JY was ordered from the renowned London dealer Jack Barclay, with the forms clearly specifying its finishes with Lucas P100 headlamps, a single sidemounted spare, built-in rear number plate, full-length bumpers, and five Ace wheel discs. The body perched atop this right-hand drive chassis was equipped with a sliding sunshine roof, separate adjustable front seats, folding center and side armrests to the rear seat, a radio, map pockets, electric courtesy lights, and an opening windshield, among other touches. “A special feature of this body,” it was noted, “is the rear boot which is of generous proportions.” The body was originally finished in metallic Gunmetal, with a chromed waistline moulding. It was trimmed in mottled Grey leather with coordinating carpets and headliner, with matte-finish walnut woodwork.
The first owner, County Cinemas managing director C.J. Donada, Esq., of Dean Street, London, was issued a guarantee by Jack Barclay on 1 May 1937, and the car was registered “DXW666” as remains today. Mr. Donada was a regular Rolls-Royce and Bentley client, extending back many years, and a man who enjoyed swift transportation; he owned a de Havilland Gipsy Moth as well! Second owner Captain Duncan Davis of West Weybridge acquired the car on 12 December of that year. Information in the file indicates that the car passed in June 1945 to Mrs. Joan Lawson of London, then in 1946 to D.P. Nicholl, who retained it until 1954.
After several further owners, chassis number B127JY was refurbished in the early 1980s to the present Coffee Bean Brown and Ivory and sold to the well-known collector Jean Gorjat, who maintained it for over a decade. In 1990 it was featured in the Classic Car Club of America’s book, The Classic Car, with Mr. Gorjat stating, “This is a wonderful automobile—the silent sports car with handsome sedan body and sun roof.”
The Bentley was acquired from Mr. Gorjat in 1996 by Owen Corrigan, who sold it in 1997 to Richard Moreton Forder of Sheffield. Mr. Forder oversaw a mechanical refurbishment, which records in the file indicate included a new block and cylinder head. He retained the car until 2012 when it became part of the current collection; it was issued a FIVA Identity Card after that time. Today the Bentley’s restoration is now much-patinaed throughout but has a distinctive charm; it is meant to be driven and loved, as indeed it has been now for nearly a decade.