1938 Bentley 4 1/4 L Coupé Vanvooren275.000-350.000 EUR - Estimate

Bentley 4 1/4 L coupé Vanvooren

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US title, EU customs cleared
Chassis n° B-132-LS
Engine n° F-4-BH
Vanvooren body n° 2914

- Volante collection
- Unique and elegant coachwork, highly luxurious model
- Superb presentation, original upholstery
- Ordered new by Lucie Vogt

Reference Number 512959

as of 2/23/2018

Dealer
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Lot 14

Artcurial - Rétromobile  Contact  Location
Salon Rétromobile Hall 1  Phone  +33 1 42 99 20 56  City  Porte de Versailles
75015 Porte de Versailles  Fax  +33 1 42 99 16 39  State  Paris
France  Mobile    Country  France France
Overview
Car 1938 Bentley 4 1/4 L Coupé Vanvooren
VIN B-132-LS 
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Known History

This car was ordered on 18 October 1937 through the intermediary Franco-Britannic in Paris, by Lucie Vogt. Born in 1911, this young woman came from a wealthy family of industrialists. Her grandfather owned the " Kali Sainte-Thérèse " potassium mines later known as the " Mines domaniales des potasses d'Alsace ". She took an interest in automobiles from a very early age and obtained her driving licence at the age of 18, which was unusual for a woman at that time. Numerous different cars passed through the family, principally Bugatti, of which Lucie owned several herself. However, in 1936, a 57 S Atalante (chassis 57472) gave her a few mechanical problems and she decided to switch her allegiance to a different marque, turning towards Bentley instead. She put in an order through Franco-Britannic Automobile in Paris, for the top model in the range, a 41/4 Litre and entrusted it to Vanvooren. This was not her first contact with the coachbuilder, having driven a 5-litre Bugatti roadster in 1932, with delightful Vanvooren coachwork. This time she asked for a coupé with a sunroof, and with no rear quarterlights so that, she said, her dogs wouldn't be frightened by the traffic.

 

The completed car was tested on 4 November 1937, and transported to Paris on 30 December. It was delivered to Lucie Vogt, living at 35 avenue du Général Sarrail, in the 16th arrondissement, in February 1938, registered 4740 RL 5. Unfortunately war broke out shortly afterwards, and the family managed to hide the car away, before selling it in 1945 to Maurice Baumgartner, an industrialist living in Lausanne, Switzerland (registration VD 22607). He kept the car for five years, and sold it on 30 December 1950 to Professor Alfred Tissières, a chemist from Lausanne (registration VD 28467). The car then crossed the Atlantic, having been sold on 17 October 1957 to Russell H. Peck, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It later passed to Eric M. Gelotte (Sandwich, Massachusetts, 1960-2004), at which point it benefitted from a high quality cosmetic restoration. The car spent time in various important US collections, including the Blackhawk Collection in California, before joining the Volante Collection in August 2012. Our collector, a serious Vanvooren enthusiast and expert, had been on the trail of this car for several years, attracted by its unique features and provenance.

 

Today, this superb Bentley coupé is presented in beautifully restored condition. The interior retains its original blue upholstery, which displays a superb patina, having been painstakingly cleaned and treated by a specialist.

This is a very rare car, being one of just five examples with this type of body built by Vanvooren, on Bentley chassis with 3.5-litre and 4.25-litre engines. Each one of the five cars is unique. Elegant and mechanically sophisticated, its 4.25-litre six-cylinder engine is derived from a Rolls-Royce 25/30 that was increased in size to provide more power and versatility. It was built in the Rolls-Royce factory in Derby, and consequently became known as the " Derby Bentley ".

Accompanied by its original Bentley instructions manual, this is a classic and discreetly luxurious model, with a sporty feel, that will not go unnoticed by enthusiasts.

 

The cars in the Volante collection have been extremely well looked after and conserved. However, it must be stressed that these are museum exhibits that have not been driven much in recent years, and will therefore require a routine inspection and service before use.

 

 

Photos © Fotozumbrunn / Unger