There are any number of bespoke-bodied, pre-war Bentleys on the market – but one particular example for sale at a UK dealer is undoubtedly unique. It is being offered for sale along with ownership rights to Freestone and Webb Limited, the once illustrious coachbuilding firm that created the car’s sporting saloon bodywork more than 80 years ago, as well as some of the best-looking Alfa Romeos, Mercedes-Benz and Packards of the prewar era.
A previous owner of the Bentley acquired the coachbuilder's name in 1990 having discovered that, although dormant, it remained registered with neither debts nor assets.
The 3.5-litre car, which left the Rolls-Royce and Bentley factory in Derby as a rolling chassis in 1935, is also unusual in that its first two owners maintained meticulous and unbroken records of every journey undertaken, resulting in a series of 16 handwritten logbooks, which will also be presented to the buyer.
The handwritten notes reveal the first owner to have been a Colonel WD Barber who kept it for more than 25 years before moving it on to a dealer in 1961. According to the logbooks the second owner, Phillip Machin, “spotted” the car in the dealer’s yard on August 5 of that year and bought it a month later with a cheque for £200.
By the time he passed it on, the Bentley had covered an impressive 173,000 miles and its new custodian promised Machin that he would have it returned to as-new condition – a project that was carried out by renowned Essex-based Bentley specialists A Archer and which took 23 years due to the owner being restricted to an outlay of £1,000 per month.
In total, the rebuild cost in excess of £153,000 – which is somewhat more than the £139,995 for which the Bentley is now on sale at Cotswold Collector's Cars in Gloucestershire.