- Chassis # B134HK
- Engine # E5BE
- One Of Only Two Closed Examples by Vesters & Neirinck
- Offered From Long-Term Dutch Ownership
- A Running & Driving Example For Minor Improvement Or Total Restoration
- A Numbers Matching Example
Shortly after Bentley was acquired by Rolls-Royce in 1931, they introduced a new model, the 3.5-liter cars. These cars would go on to become known as Derby Bentleys, based on their production in the Derby, England factory. Against W.O. Bentley’s will, these new 3.5 liter cars would shun the sporting reputation of the Bentley name in favor of a more Roll-Royce philosophy of quality and grace. They were originally fitted with a 3.5 liter straight 6 of Rolls-Royce origin but were hopped up a bit with the use of a sportier cam, higher compression ratio, and twin SU carburetors, making the engine good for roughly 110 horsepower. In 1936 the 3 1/2 liter was replaced by a 4 1/4 liter. In total 1234 4 1/4 liter cars were built and while a good majority of them were bodied by Park Ward, numerous coach builders sculpted elegant bodies to be placed on the Bentley chassis. The 4 1/4 liter was replaced in late 1939 by the MkV although some 4 1/4 liter chassis were still being bodied all the way into 1941.
The example on offer here, chassis B134HK and engine number E5BE, is a 1937 Bentley 4 1/4 liter bodied by Vesters and Neirinck. It is believed to be 1 of only 2 closed coupe versions bodied by the Belgium firm. It is a numbers matching example and has been under long-term ownership by a Dutch enthusiast. As it currently sits the car wears an older restoration and currently runs and drives but would benefit from minor improvements or a total restoration to restore the car to the glory it deserves. The car was originally owned by a Mr. Robinson who worked at a Rolls-Royce and Bentley importer in Brussels called Novarobel. It was his company car for a time and when he was given a new company car, he purchased B134HK for himself. He cherished the car for many years and kept good care of it until in 1960 when he was given yet another company car and determined that he could no longer hold onto the 4 1/4 liter at which point he sold the car to Mr. Klein Lankhorst of The Netherlands. The car has remained in the Lankhorst family since then. They have cherished the car and took good care of it.
body and paint
The car is currently finished in a delightful two-tone Dark Green over top of a Mist Green color scheme. However, the paint is older and a rich patin covers the car with the paint failing a bit in many high wear areas. There is cracking along some of the body lines of the hood. The rain gutters above the windows have cracking and flecking and the roof is highly flecked and cracking especially around the sunroof. There are also 3 larger gauges in the roof where it looks like the car may have been raised on a lift into a roofline or something of the sort. There is stone peppering along the lower extremities of the car, especially on the leading edge of the sloping rear fenders. Numerous small area of cracking and chipping paint run along the belt line of the vehicle where the two colors meet. The rear area of the car has cracking in the paint along the edge lines of the trunk area and some fading paint around the edges of the rear deck. Overall the paint would certainly be considered the weakest part of the car. It could, however, be left as is in scruffy driver condition as it does provide the car with loads of character. The body of the car is fairly straight and appears nice and solid. The fitment of the hood is a bit off due to warping of the body panels but the rest of the body gaps and lines appear relatively respectful.
glass and trim
The glass is in fair shape and appears to be original as all of it bears its Securit branding still. There is some light scratching a pitting to the glass throughout but it could be considered in serviceable condition. Chrome trim is in likewise serviceable condition with decent shine throughout but pitting and scratching clearly present. Most of the rubber trim, especially around the window frames is dry and cracking but appears structurally sound still. The chrome strip on the belt line of the vehicle is pulling away from the body where it meets body separations. The glass for the headlights is relatively clean and clear but the inside of the headlight buckets are dirty and have a bit of surface corrosion on them and the lights are currently missing bulbs.
The black wire wheels appear to have been refreshed more recently as they maintain relatively good consistent finish to them with only a few knicks in the paint on the outer edges of the rims. The spokes all appear to be tight and sound.
The cosmetic condition of the vehicle would best be described as a scruffy driver. There are numerous spots throughout the car that contain heavy areas of patina and wear to the paint the, the body itself appears structurally sound and relatively straight.
seats and surfaces
The tan interior complements the exterior very nicely and much like the rest of the car, the interior is smattered with patina throughout. The door jams are solid but have failing paint throughout. The seats clearly contain some wear around the edges but the leather has a nice worn-in look to it with some minor discoloration but no cracking or splitting to speak of. The door cards are in likewise decent shape with some scuffing and staining but solid wood trim and a nicely worn-in feel to the leather. The brown carpeting is soiled and a bit tired and the covering in the front footwell is missing altogether, leaving the exposed metal floorboards showing. Lifting the rear seat cushions reveals solid but patina soaked metal covering a clean and tidy battery box. The headliner is a bit stained around the edges and there are some tears on the sunroof section but it remains tight to the ceiling. The insulation on the underside of the dash has been taped up and is falling a bit. The wood veneer on the dash is relatively smooth but presents a bit of patina around the edges, the wood on the top of the dash is good condition.
functionality and accessories
The window winders and door handles are in good cosmetic condition and function as they should. The rear sliding windows move as they should. The gauge faces are bright and legible and their glass coverings are clear and free of haze. The painted bezels surrounding the gauges display a bit of patina to the paint. It appears that the gauges, with the exception of the clock and the tachometer, function as they should but extensive testing has not been carried out to verify their accuracy.
There is a plethora of patina throughout the interior of the car, with the leather showing nicely worn in but in decent condition. There is some staining and a small tear in the headliner and the carpeting covering the front footwell is missing.
engine bay and trunk
The condition of the engine bay is inline with the rest for the vehicle with abundant patina throughout and an overall driver quality feel to it. Painted surfaces have some wear to them, the air cleaner has a small dent in it, and there is some minor surface corrosion on some of the components placed lower in the engine compartment. Hoses, belts, wires, and cables all appear to be in good mechanical order however and the engine and most components appear to be well kept and looked after.
The trunk area is finished in a similar carpet to the interior of the car. The carpeting is a bit tired but overall very presentable. The underside of the trunk lid is skimmed in the same leather as the interior of the car and has a bit of patina and staining around the edges but is also in presentable condition. The black wire wheel spare is attached to the exterior of the trunk and is in good condition but the redline tire that it attached to it would not be considered useable due to cracking of the rubber.
The underside of the car appears solid but could certainly stand a good cleaning. There is grime from the road and normal usage that has accumulated on much of the suspension components and as well as the underside of the engine. Wheel wells and floor pans appear to be nice and solid with no signs of rotten metal at any point in the cars life.
The engine runs fairly well and starts with relative ease. It idles fine and seems to make good power although extensive testing was not undertaken other than back and forth in a parking lot.
The transmission seems to engage gears as it should hold power at least through the lower gears of which we tested. The clutch operated normally and there is no abnormal noises or shuttering under low-speed driving.
brakes and suspension
The brakes bring the car to a relatively smooth and controlled stop. During our limited testing the suspension seems to be responsive and free of any odd noises or issues.
The tires appear to be a fairly newer set of Michelin Cable Confort SS and appear to be in good shape. They hold air well, have plenty of tread life left in them and no cracking or separating was noticed.
With its low slung body and swooping elongated fenders, this Bentley 4 1/ liter has an immaculate road presence. It feels relatively modern behind the wheel, makes good power and provided a nice smooth ride during our limited testing. The well patina’d interior provides a delightful place from which to pilot this gorgeous automobile with good forward and rearward visibility and the added benefit of a sunroof! We have not done extensive testing of the drive-ability of this car, mainly slow speeds through parking lots, but it feels relatively good in this sense. This car would make the ideal candidate for either a light refreshening to a patina packed driver or a solid candidate for a total restoration to concourse quality.