1936' Bentley 4 1/4 Litre 4.25 Derby
Vintage and Prestige are proud to offer this 1936 Derby Bentley 4 ¼ Sports Coupé, Coachwork by Vanden Plas For Sale.
Registration: EMY 4
Chassis no: B11 HM
Engine no: J 2 BA
Body no: 3515
Design no: 1386
The ex-Hugh Hunter, Donald Cambell, Rolls-Royce Enthusiast Club Concours Class-winning.
Black over terracotta with terracotta leather interior.
Engine: six cylinder in-line, overhead valve, 4,257cc, four speed manual gearbox with modern Fiennes overdrive unit.
Hugh Hunter was one of a now sadly disappeared breed of wealthy young sportsmen whose lives existed for pleasure and throughout was untroubled by the encumbrance of work, while his family’s printing business funded his lifestyle. Once bitten by the bug of cars, Hunter owned a series of increasingly sporting models, quickly upgrading from an Austin 7 Trials model, to a Riley Nine, then on to Frazer Nash T.T. Replica, later a Frazer Nash BMW and an Alta in which he lapped Brooklands at over 120 MPH and won one of the two last such Brooklands awards.
By the end of the 1930’s he was an owner of one of the worlds fastest road cars, an Alfa Romeo 2.9 ex Mille-Miglia car. He was a prolific competitor in all forms of motor sport, in speed trials, road races, hillclimbs and many events at Brooklands. In one weekend alone he ran his 328 in the High Speed Trial at Brooklands at Brooklands on the Saturday Morning, his Alfa at the Brighton Speed Trials in the afternoon and the following day campaigned both Alfa and BMW at Prescott Hill Climb.
He was certainly successful, achieving numerous awards including three M.C.C. Triple awards and his capabilities behind the wheel increased with the stature of the cars. Perhaps the two most notable points in his racing career were in 1939 when he raced the 2.9 at the May BARC Whitsun meeting, dubbed the worlds fastest road race, the first stage of which he won and in 1950 when he partnered H.S.F. Hay in the ‘Embiricos’ Bentley at Le Mans.
Unlike many of his contemporaries he shared an equal enthusiasm for concours d’elegances and with this in mind, mid way through 1936, Hunter commissioned the building of his first of many Bentley motor cars.
He was extremely precise in every detail, and working with Vanden Plas on it’s styling a series of detail drawings were made, to construct one of the most graceful closed cars ever to grace these chassis. Initially the car was styles with a full rendition in a deep burgundy colour, before Hunter settles on a more striking livery of Black over Terracotta over Black, which would accentuate the lines of the collaborated Faux Cabriolet style Sports Coupé.
The Bentley was beautifully styled, drawing on all of the techniques of the period to enhance its rakish lines from close coupled seating to keep the roof line low, to extended scuttle louvres and its two-tone livery, its spare wheel was neatly concealed set into the rear of the body so as not to detract from the side profile. The car was also equipped with a whole host of detail features which included sunroof, opening windscreen, an internal third windscreen wiper for demisting the screen, fold down panel to enable the car to be driven with the boot open and therefore increasing its capacity .Its interior matched the exterior terracotta leather, piped in black.
Right from the outset this was no ordinary Bentley, and was christened EMMY owing to the original registration EMY 4, this itself being chosen by Hunter to fit in numerical sequence with other cars in his stable, his 2.9 being JML 1, Fiat Topolino DXV 2 and Frazer Nash BMW DXV 3.
Hugh Hunter took delivery of “Emmy” at the end of 1936, its first real test being the Monte Carlo rally in January 1937, which started in Vienna, it is understood that he took third for the engine and comfort prizes at this event. A month later he toured the car home through Cannes, St. Moritz and Paris. In the middle of the year, Hunter entered “Emmy” in its first concours, the Eastbourne Concours d’Elegance where it won the Motor trophy and two other first prizes. Buoyed by this success he continued to take it to a number of other such coastal events, including Ramsgate in 1938, where it took first.
Throughout this period, the car was meticulously photographed by Hunter, and more extraordinarily was filmed on Cine-film in Colour, “Emmy” fitting neatly between various campaigning of his Frazer Nash BMW and 2.9 Alfa Romeo, much of this footage still exists.
Hunter kept the Bentley till late in the 40’s when he exchanged it for a MKVI, he sold “Emmy” to his good friend Donald Campbell on 30thMay 1949, as recorded in its Buff Logbook. Cambell kept the car for nearly a year and was responsible for painting the exterior Grey, after his tenure B11 HM went through a few owners before ending up in America.
Early in 1998, after years of talking of his uncle’s motoring pursuits, Hugh Hunter’s nephew was commissioned to research the Bentley and see if it still existed.
The car was sourced in Oregon, where it had resided with resident and enthusiast Jim Blackaby for many years. Blackaby, an aging gentleman had the intention of completing a complete restoration himself, however as time went on the prospect of a new custodian finishing the work attracted him greatly. He parted with the car and “Emmy” returned to the UK and the original family ownership. “Emmy” was handed to renowned restorers Alpine Eagle of Little Clanfield, Oxon. Upon a comprehensive assessment of the car it was clear that whilst the car was complete in every detail it would require a complete restoration to return to its former concours winning form.
The restoration work lasted for four years and was completed in June 2002., during this time the bodywork was completely refurbished, and all mechanics rebuilt or overhauled where necessary. There was never any hesitation as to the livery that would be chose for the car, and when beneath the dour grey paintwork the original terracotta could be seen, this was sealed. Similarly although darkened over time, and possibly re-coloured at the seams of the upholstery it was possible to find the original trim colours. Both were matched perfectly to return the car to its former glory, as was every original detail feature.
Sensible modern additions of indicators were discretely incorporated into the front and rear wings, and as tribute to Hunter who loved to listen to music in the car, a modern stereo with CD has been housed beneath the dash.
“Emmy” made its first re-entry to the concours circuit in June 2002, when it was entered in the Derby Bentley class of the Rolls-Royce Annual Rally. It saw off competition from a busy crowd of more than 30 cars at this ever wee-supported event to take a first in class. Returning a year later to win the masters class 2003.
Throughout the rebuild and in post-restoration, the intention has always be to make the car as usable as possible and with this in mid a Fiennes overdrive unit was fitted, The car cruises comfortably and runs beautifully. A new cylinder was fitted and after running in miles “Emmy” returned to Alpine Eagles for a re-tightening and a check over.
Some 17 years have passed since the restoration and “Emmy” can still only be described as Concours condition, this is a testament to Alpine Eagle for the sheer meticulous quality of restoration, and also the level of maintenance that has been carried out prior to the restoration.
The current custodians have owned “Emmy” since 2005 where she has resided as part of a private collection. She has rarely been seen other that the occasional summer trip, and still has to be one of the finest Derby Bentleys built.
A large history file including period pictures and full documentation of the restoration also accompany the car.
Full gallery available at:
Viewing by appointment only.
Office 01375 379719
Richard Biddulph 07967 260673
Christoff Cowens 07772188037
We accept Credit/Debit Cards.
Part Exchange welcome.
Weekend & evening viewings OK.
Viewings by appointment:
9 Globe Industrial Estate,
Grays, Essex, RM17 6ST
- +44Show phone
- 8 June 2019