Historics bring rarefied restoration project to auction

A Derby Bentley restoration project, first owned by original ‘Bentley Boy’ and former Chairman of Bentley Motors, Woolf ‘Babe’ Barnato, is due for auction at Historics’ summer sale at the Brooklands Museum on Saturday, May 26th.

Bentley Boys history

Heir to diamond magnate Barney Barnato, Woolf found fame as the first three-time consecutive winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and was rightly regarded by W.O. Bentley as “The best driver we ever had”.

Barnato is also synonymous with Historics’ permanent auction home, Brooklands, having won the Six Hour Race and Double Twelve Race in 1930, and his ‘silent sports car’ makes its way to the museum in May with a stirring story to tell.

A very early first series 3½ litre Derby Bentley, the car was ordered by Jack Barclay for Woolf Barnato, and the chassis delivered to Park Ward on 2nd February 1934 for the fitting of an all-aluminium saloon body.

Woolf Barnato took ownership of the car on 14th March 1934, minus the winged ‘B’ mascot but complete with the town cap fitted to the radiator, and enjoyed ownership for two years before changing to the steel bodied successor, the 4¼ litre.

The car was purchased by the current vendor in 1967 who, as an accomplished automotive engineer in his early twenties, discovered the engine block was cracked causing the car to overheat.

Sent away for repair, the engine then went missing from the storage shed before it could be returned, rendering the car static and in a state in which it would remain thereafter.

Needing repair and restoration, many of the instruments and electrical components remain, with the car also supplied with the carburettors, radiator and P100 headlights.

Although much of the paperwork went the way of the engine, the chassis number is visible on a small bonnet mounted plate along with copies of the original chassis cards, with the vendor also confirming that the numbers match those on record with the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club archives and Bentley Drivers Club.

Offered at No Reserve and despite the demanding nature of the restoration needed, Historics is hoping for fervent bidding on this intriguing piece of ‘Bentley Boys’ history, at its next sale on Saturday 26th May.

For more information, and to attend the Historics at Brooklands auction on the afternoon of Saturday May 26th, call 0800 988 3838, Entry by catalogue only, available prior to, or on the day of the auction.