SOLD 11/08

1935 Bentley
Drophead Coupe

Ex-Embiricos with One-Off Body by Antem, Known History from New, Much Documented History

  • Exterior ColorDark Blue
  • Interior ColorBlack
  • Mileage26345 Miles
  • Engine3.5 Litre
  • Engine no.F4BZ
  • Transmission4-Speed
  • StatusSold
  • StockFJ686


1935 Bentley 3 ½ Litre Drophead Coupe by Antem
s/n B5EJ engine no. F4BZ
Dark Blue with Black Leather Interior

The first Bentley model produced after Rolls-Royce's acquisition of the Bentley company, the 3 and a half litre is the first of the \"Derby Bentleys\" built at Rolls-Royce's Derby factory. The cars were refined and elegant, earning the famous \"slient sports car\" moniker that would become synonymous with Bentley. With 4-wheel servo assisted brakes, the cars stopped well, and as was the convention at the time, bodies from a wide variety of coachbuilders were fitted to the cars. Over half the cars were built with Park Ward bodywork, with the remaining cars spread across a large number of coachbuilders. The vast majority of cars featured bodies from the UK, but a handful were fitted with bodies produced in other countries.

This is one such car, which was bodied by Antem in Paris. It is one of just two Bentleys ever bodied by Antem, and the only 3 ½ litre for which they built a body (the other Antem Bentley was owned by the same gentleman as this car incidentally). This car features characteristically French styling of the period, being more elegant and rakish than contemporary English designs, and also lacking running boards. The windscreen is extremely low and is hinged at the top to permit ventilation, or can be folded completely flat from the base.

This car is tremendously documented, with known history from new. There are no fewer than nine volumes (each of which bears the car's serial number on the front in gold lettering) outlining the car's remarkable history. Included among this documentation are countless photographs, letters of correspondence, documentation from having been shown, and copies of the original build, chassis, and test sheets from Bentley Motors (1931) Limited. The car was originally ordered by André Embiricos, now legendary for his subsequent order for the 1938 \"Streamline Bentley\" which was run at Brooklands and competed in Le Mans in 1949 (6th overall), 1950, and 1951. According to the original chassis card, this chassis was ordered with high compression engine, metric instruments with white backgrounds and black lettering, and special bumpers. Copies of the cards for the inspection and the testing of the springs and engine are all included with the car.

Mr. Embiricos took delivery of the car in Paris, where it remained until he sold it back to Bentley Motors, who found a new home for the car in the United Kingdom. It remained there with a handful of long term owners, the last of which kept the car for over twenty years and had the car painted British Racing Green in the early 1960's. In 1978, the car was raced by a then seventy-eight year old Eddie Hall, in the rain with the top down no less! The car was repainted its original dark blue before being sold in the mid 1980's, eventually to Fantasy Junction, who imported the car to California.

A new owner was found for the car before it even arrived in California, and he was an extraordinarily enthusiastic gentleman who kept the car until 2008. He is responsible for the fastidious documentation present with the car, and it is patently clear that he loved the car very much. It was featured in several magazines, and when he moved to the UK for a few years (1991 to 1995), he took the car with him, and then brought it back again afterwards. The car has a feature in the February 1995 issue of The Automobile and was also the cover car for that issue. Under his stewardship, the car was shown extensively, placing 3rd in class at Hillsborough, and has been to many other shows including Lafayette Concours, Silverado, and Ascot Day at Bay Meadows. It consistently garnered much attention (he reported it as having made a bit of a splash among the enthusiast community upon its arrival in California for its uniqueness), and the majority of the material in the binders was collected during these enthusiastic decades. This material is tremendously complete, with judging sheets, photographs and documentation to the penny for everything from service work to bridge tolls and when the car was washed even!

Today the car remains in attractive and presentable condition with nice even patina. It has not seen any cosmetic renewal work since the 1980`s but remains very striking. The paintwork shows various signs of use and age in the form of scratches and chips, but nothing too egregious, and the panels fit well. The chrome has scratching and light pitting but is consistently worn and still looks good on the whole. The top shows some fading, while the lights, including the iconic Lucas P100`s, are excellent across the board.

The interior also has patina, with some wear to the leather. The carpets are in good shape, except for under the driver`s feet, where it has come loose. The wood is extremely nice throughout, and the dashboard, which has unusually been upholstered with leather, is nice as well. The white faced instruments are in good overall condition, as are the various switches.

The trunk is upholstered in the same carpet as the interior and is in fine shape, and the engine compartment is tidy and quite clean, but with some cosmetic wear to some of the painted components. On the whole, however, it is quite impressive for having been left largely alone for so many years.

This is as truly unrepeatable and totally unique opportunity to acquire a very special car. Having been enjoyed regularly instead of being allowed to sit for the last two decades, it runs quite well and has tremendous presence. It has much cosmetic patina but could still be enjoyed as-is, while it has unique and fascinating history (which is marvelously documented) further sets this car apart. Moreover, its one-off French body is extremely attractive, serving to underline how truly special this example is.

The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.

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Fantasy Junction  •  510-653-7555  •  1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608