1939 Bentley 4¼ Litre Experimental Car (1939)




Chassis No. 3B50
A chance to own a unique Bentley with great history and provenance which we believe holds a very significant place in the history of Bentley and Rolls-Royce Motors. Used as a test bed during WWII on official business, with every journey logged, it enabled the all new MKVI to be launched in 1946 when most manufacturers were re-hashing pre-war designs. The MKVI was closely followed by the Silver Wraith in 1947 and the Silver Dawn in 1949. We had previously thought that the B60 engine was a post war development but 3B50 was fitted with B60 engine No.4 originally, later replaced with No.11 as per logbook entry which is still in place to this day. We have copies of the three very comprehensive logbooks which not only record every journey but also who was driving and every modification carried out. These logbooks run from 1939 to 1950 during which time the car covered almost 200,000 miles before escaping the fate of most experimental cars by being ‘passed to Rm’ - the Chief Engineer who took the car for his personal transport. The car's life is well-documented, and included with it are copies of Ian Rimmer’s seminal work on the Experimental cars and ‘Silver Ghosts and Silver Dawn’ the fascinating autobiography of W. A. Robotham. Also various other interesting related articles, magazines and books. During our ownership 3B50 has had a brake overhaul, re-cored radiator and numerous other jobs. Now very sound, a bit scruffy, running well, very much on the road and freshly MoT’d. Can be used as an ‘oily rag’ as is or improved cosmetically to the new owner’s taste.
Chassis No. 3B50                Reg No. RC 7338    
Snippets: Code Name Rm
Rm was the code name for William Arthur Robotham (1899/1980) – who after serving as an artillery officer during WWI decided that he wouldn’t join his father’s legal firm but to apply for an apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce (family connections played a part) and he duly started with the company as a “Premium Apprentice”.  In 1923 he became a junior technician under Ernest Hives (code name Hs) in the Experimental section where Rm worked on not just cars but also the aero section when needed.  He was heavily involved in the road testing of the cars which meant that he travelled throughout Europe and whilst he was staying at the Hotel de France in Chateauroux he assisted Madame Olga Cousino Lyon whose Silver Ghost had “failed to proceed”, her family’s wealth came from silver mining & wine in Chile and home was a palace in Santiago!  More local testing runs were held at Shotton Steel works in North Wales and he along with Geoffrey & Dick Summers would race their cars over a ½ mile standing start sprint with a ¼ of a mile pull up section – the cars varied from an Aston Martin, Lancia, Hispano Suiza, Bentley, Vauxhall, Chrysler, Rolls-Royce – all in the name of performance evaluation. Such fun.  Rm married twice – firstly to Winifred Thompson whose father Henry was a pioneer farmer with estates in Lincolnshire, Norfolk & Scotland & the owner of a Rolls-Royce Phantom I (78DC).  One of Henry’s Scottish crops was the Golden Wonder potato & as they were not available in the Midlands Rm’s father-in-law sent him some 6 tons which Rm managed to sell to the Rolls-Royce staff!  His second wife was Jeanne Ekins who used to accompany the famous Italian Tenor Beniamino Gigli on piano!  After Rm’s retirement he & Jeanne bought a farm in Kent where they produced hops, potatoes, corn, plums, apples and pears.  
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  • Year: 1939
  • Doors: 4
  • Body type: Saloon
  • Transmission type: Manual
  • Fuel type: Petrol
  • Colour: Green

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The Real Car Co.

Gwynedd, United Kingdom

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