Big result for unique barn-find Bentley

| 21 Mar 2019
Classic & Sports Car – Big result for unique barn-find Bentley

When this 1936 Bentley 4½ Litre Vanden Plas Tourer was last sold in 1952, it fetched £260. Yesterday, it sold for £454,250 at H&H Classics’ Imperial War Museum auction.

Of course, this could be dismissed as an inevitable turn of events, given the car’s rarity and the passing of time.

But when you consider that the price it achieved was more than double the upper end of its £150-200,000 pre-sale estimate, it’s rather more significant.

The Bentley was the sale’s top seller and was acquired by a British telephone buyer.

And this is a car with quite a tale to tell.

Classic & Sports Car – Big result for unique barn-find Bentley

It is the sole-surviving WO Bentley 4½ Litre Vanden Plas Tourer. One of six 4½ Litre cars built by the Service Department from new old stock parts in 1936, along with four 3½ Litre cars, it is the only one of that sextet that retains its original bodywork.

Until yesterday, just two people had owned it, the second since 1952, and it wasn’t just the car that had lived a noteworthy life.

Its second keeper was Charles Blackham who, as an RAF pilot in WW2, took part in the raid to bomb Hitler’s mountain-top retreat in the Bavarian Alps in April 1945.

Also that month, Blackham made emergency food drops to people on the German/Dutch border who were facing famine.

Classic & Sports Car – Big result for unique barn-find Bentley

Blackham enjoyed the Bentley for 36 years, only taking it off the road when old age meant he could no longer drive it.

The car has spent the last three decades locked away at his Stockport home, only found after he passed away in January, at the age of 96, and his estate was being sold.

“It is a really wonderful discovery for all fans of the marque made even more special in the make’s 100th-birthday year,” said Damian Jones, Head of Sales at H&H Classics. “It sold last time for just £260 so this time we believed it would do a thousand times better and it did not disappoint.”



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