19th Oct, 2022 13:00

Imperial War Museum, Duxford

Lot 41

1934 Bentley 3.5 Litre 'Figoni et Falaschi' Style Tourer
Coachwork by Rod Jolley

Sold for £80,867

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: AXM 19
Chassis No: B189AE
MOT: Exempt

  • Previously owned by eminent aircraft designer Sir Roy Feddon and created to his requirements as an ‘Aero Saloon’; being the first vehicle to be wind tunnel tested in model form
  • Subject to a 1600 hour restoration in the 1980s, with unique ‘Figoni et Falaschi’ style coachwork by Rod Jolley
  • In family ownership for the last 25 years and well known in the Bentley Driver’s Club
  • Subject to extensive works with Michael Hibberd in June of 2021 to the sum of £8,880
  • Invoices in current ownership totalling over £138,000

Following the acquisition of Bentley Motors in November of 1931, Rolls-Royce had the task of transforming their 20/25HP into a distinct sports car that W.O. Bentley would approve of. Based on an experimental Rolls-Royce project "Peregrine", this new model would be Launched at Ascot in August 1933. The first of the 'Derby Bentleys', as they would come to be known, continued the marque's sporting associations but in a manner even more refined than before. Even W O Bentley himself acknowledged that the 3½-Litre model was the finest ever to bear his name.

Based on the contemporary Rolls-Royce 20/25hp, the 3½-Litre Bentley was slightly shorter in the wheelbase and employed a tuned (115bhp) twin-SU-carburettor version of the former's overhead-valve six. Add to this already remarkable package a four-speed synchromesh gearbox and servo assisted brakes, and the result was a vehicle offering the driver effortless sports car performance in almost absolute silence. "...the ability to traverse the rapidly crowding roads of Great Britain in less time, and with less effort, were points strong in its favour" observed Johnnie Green in Bentley, 50 Years of the Marque.

'The Silent Sports Car', as it was swiftly dubbed, had few peers as a tireless long-distance tourer, combining as it did traditional Rolls-Royce refinement with Bentley performance and handling. By the time production ceased in 1937 total of 1,177 3½-Litre models had left the Crewe factory, which went on to produce a further 1,234 of the successor 4¼-Litre model before this highly successful line came to an end in 1939. As befitted its sporting nature, the Derby Bentley was almost always fitted with owner-driver saloon or drophead coupé coachwork, the standard designs being the work of Park Ward.

Supplied new on 31 May 1934, this particular 3.5L was designed and created to the specification of eminent aircraft designer and engineer Sir Roy Feddon. Featuring an aerodynamic design with the rear portion of the car being visibly flat, this body shape was dubbed the ‘Aero Saloon’, and was reportedly the first vehicle to be wind tunnel tested in model form, at Vickers of Weybridge. When completed ,the car was tested at Brooklands, clocking over 100mph – a particular feat in its day. This particular example, personally owned by Feddon until 1949, passed hands to owners in Devon and Buckinghamshire until 1963, when it was laid up and unused until purchased as a project by its previous owner the early 1980s.

Shortly after its purchase, the previous owner undertook a painstaking restoration, including unique ‘Figoni et Falaschi’ style coachwork by renowned coachbuilder Rod Jolley. Within the history file, there is hand-written notes documenting a 1600 hour restoration at a cost of £9760, with the car finished in Ford Monaco Red and Sorbet with matching red leather upholstery. Completed in Late 1987 and enjoyed for a further 10 years, ‘AXM 19’ was purchased by its current owner in December of 1997.

Now in ownership for some 25 years, this Bentley is well known to the Bentley Drivers club, having participated in a number of social rallies in Europe including a number of rallies in the Alps and Pyrenees, as well as rallies as far as New Zealand. As such, the car has been well looked after, with it being looked after largely by Michael Hibberd and Britannia Motor Engineering in current ownership, as well as Fiennes Engineering on a number of occasions. Prior to its trip to New Zealand, ‘AXM 19’ was subject to an engine overhaul at a cost of £16,026, with there being invoices on file in current ownership totalling a staggering £138,000, with the most recent works being extensive works with Michael Hibberd in June of 2021 to the sum of £8,880.

Included with the vehicle is a comprehensive history file including the aforementioned invoices dating back to 1997, further invoices relating to the restoration dating back to 1987 with a photograph of the vehicle as a project prior to restoration, Communications with Sir Roy Feddon in September of 1963, where Feddon confirms the body was ‘specifically made to (his) requirements’, a copy of an article the vehicle was featured in from, a large collection of previous MOTs dating back to 1988, two original continuation books and the V5C document. The vendor rates the condition of engine, electrical equipment and transmission as ‘Very Good’, the interior trim as ‘Good’ and the bodywork and paintwork as ‘Average’.

PLEASE NOTE: This vehicle is being re-offered due to a defaulting buyer, not due to any fault of the vehicle's own.

For more information, please contact:
Andreas Hicks


Auction: Imperial War Museum, Duxford, 19th Oct, 2022

An auction of classic & collector motorcars


Tuesday 18th October 2022 from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 19th October 2022 from 9am
Additional viewing for lots 200-254 on Thursday 20th October 2022 from 9am

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