A 1936 Bentley 4.5-Litre Vanden Plas Tourer previously owned by former RAF pilot Charles Blackman has sold at auction for £454,250 at the H&H Classics sale at Duxford.
It last sold for £260 in 1952 and has spent the last 30 years locked up at Mr Blackman’s home in Stockport. But the Bentley was unearthed following the death of the former pilot and sold as part of his estate.
Despite being in a ‘barn-find’ condition, the Bentley fetched more than double the pre-auction estimate of between £150,000 and £200,000, helped in no small part by the fact that it’s one of only six W.O. Bentley 4.5-Litre cars assembled by the service department using new old stock parts in 1936.
Mr Blackman served in the RAF 500 Squadron and took part in the bombing of Hitler’s mountain retreat in Bavaria in April 1945. In the same month, he made emergency food drops on the German/Dutch border where people were facing famine.
He bought the Bentley in 1952 and drove it for 36 years before age caught up with him and the car was taken off the road. It remained in his garage ever since.
Damian Jones, head of sales at H&H Classics said: “This is the ultimate Bentley ‘barn-find’ in the marque’s centenary year. It is a really wonderful discovery for all fans of the marque made even more special in the make’s 100th birthday year.
“It sold last time for just £260 so this time we believed it would do a thousand times better and it did not disappoint.”
He added: “This Bentley is so unusual because it was assembled in the mid 1930s using a chassis and mechanical parts which dated from no later than 1931.”
“Only the body was freshly made when the car was assembled and sold as a new car in 1936. The W.O. Bentleys made from 1919 to 1931 are far more valuable than the Derby Bentleys which followed from 1933 to 1940. The car was accepted as a W.O. Bentley because its chassis and mechanicals were all made during the W.O. era.”