Legendary marque heads investment opportunities at Historics sale

For those looking to classic cars for investment, Historics at Brooklands believes the most British of marques could offer the best bang for your buck, as it brings no fewer than a dozen Bentleys to Brooklands for its forthcoming auction on Saturday 26th May.

1954 Bentley R-Type

With top Bentley models continuing to drive up prices of other exclusive examples, Historics presents a number of cars that could prove the ideal vehicles for decent returns, as Dave Selby, senior analyst with independent research organisation The Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI), comments:

“Among post-war Bentleys, it’s the more exclusive coach-built models that have been leading the way in market terms.  The HJ Mulliner R-type Fastback Continental, which is a constituent of the HAGI Top Index (, has been performing strongly and this is likely to invigorate interest in other limited production coachbuilt models which currently remain more attainable.

“In the case of pre-war models, history and provenance are key to differentiation in the market place, while late-era models of the 1980s and 1990s can offer phenomenal punch per pound if bought well, with good examples available at a fraction of their price when new,” he concluded.

Bearing a striking resemblance to the R-Type Continental, Historics’ sale will feature a 1954 Bentley R-Type Coupé by Abbott of Farnham.  Designed by Peter Woodgate, chassis ‘B329SP’ was supplied with a shallower radiator, lower steering column and higher-than-standard axle ratio, all designed to make optimum use of the Abbott body’s reduced weight and enhanced aerodynamics.

Following a period in the United States of America, the car returned to the UK where a no-expense-spared, seven year restoration totalling £150,000, was undertaken at Wilkinson’s of Derby.

The alluring R-Type is finished in metallic grey with contrasting red leather interior, and is expected to attract offers in the region of £95,000 – £120,000 at auction.

Equally elegant and no less sporting on account of its aluminium body, is a 1960 Bentley S2 Continental Flying Spur ‘six light’ by H J Mulliner.  Originally owned by Sir Maxwell Joseph, Chairman of the Grand Metropolitan portfolio of properties in Paris, the car spent much of the 1960’s on the continent and still bears a French identity plate under the bonnet as well as French language switches on the dashboard.

The subsequent owner’s sporting interest reflected the status of such a car, with the S2 Flying Spur often seen parked in the west car park at Twickenham during rugby internationals.

Latterly the car has undergone a sympathetic £20,000 re-commission by marque specialists RR & B in Bromsgrove, and is estimated to fetch bids of between £63,000 – £73,000 on 26th May.

Pick of the pre-war Bentley’s presented by Historics, is a 1933 4¼ litre Open Tourer in the Vanden Plas style.

The chassis was originally laid and plated in 1933 as 4-B-IV and used by Bentley Motors as an experimental car.  During this time, the chassis was tested with a number of different body styles, initially a Park Ward open touring design which later changed to a sporting saloon body, with the 3½ litre engine modified to accept larger inlet valves and a 6.9:1 compression ratio.  It was in this version that it lapped Brooklands at an impressive 90.4mph according to Alec Harvey-Bailey’s book, ‘The Derby Bentleys’.

It was subsequently fitted with a new 4¼ litre engine to replace the 3½ litre unit and sold, in 1936, with a four seat, four light sports saloon body configuration by Vanvooren.

The next chassis registered was done so by Mr. Woolf Barnato, chairman of Bentley Motors, before it was latterly altered to the style of a Vanden Plas Open Tourer.

Having resided in the Midland Motor Museum between 1988 and 1996, the car has been used in numerous Bentley Drivers Club events and is superbly presented, reflecting a robust estimate of £100,000 to £140,000.

The Woolf Barnato connections continue as an early first series 3½ litre Derby Bentley owned by the Bentley Motors Chairman – prior to the 4¼ litre – is offered at No Reserve.  With history and provenance key to maximising potential returns, Historics expects significant interest in the piece of ‘Bentley Boys’ history, despite the demanding nature of the restoration needed.

If instant value for money is of greater interest, more modern Bentley’s provide the ultimate in luxury driving for figures that belie their original asking price.

A 50,000 mile 2001 Red Label Arnage – benefitting from expanded leg room in the cabin, stiffer body shell, larger wheels and brakes and powered by Bentley’s own traditional V8 engine – is anticipated to attract offers in the region of £18,000 – £24,000, just a fraction of the original lofty £150,000 price tag.

For more information on all Bentley’s consigned as well as details on the full catalogue, and to attend the Historics at Brooklands auction on the afternoon of Saturday May 26th, call 0800 988 3838,