Santa Monica

24 June 2017

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Lot 212

1936 Bentley 3½-Litre

Sold for $200,750

  • One of the most beautiful 3½-Litre Bentleys
  • Spectacular lightweight, aerodynamic one-off coachwork
  • Commissioned by its original owner for a Royal Automobile Club tour
  • Former Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance award-winner
  • Featured in many important Bentley reference texts
  • Boasts an honest and prestigious provenance
  • Fine condition throughout and retains impressive tool kit

This Bentley 3½-Litre, chassis B111FC, is absolutely unique, as tailored by Windovers for its original owner, B. Gootnick, who accepted delivery in March of 1936. The chassis and build information sheets for this car, copies of which are on file, state that the car was built for “Town work and touring . . . the car will be used for RAC rally and acceleration should be ‘specially considered.’” Undoubtedly, Mr. Gootnick was a gentleman, but he was a gentleman with a lead foot.

As noted in Michael Ellman-Brown’s book, Bentley: The Silent Sports Car, 1931–1941, chassis number B111FC “could easily have come from the drawing board of a continental coachbuilder. Although the rear portion of the roof has the appearance of a drophead coupe and is fabric-covered, it is in fact fixed; the hood irons are dummies. Also unusual on this car is the very narrow scuttle section, necessitating widening of the bonnet top at the rear, in order to achieve a more graceful flow into the door, the leading edge of which is forward of the norm, because of the rake of the windscreen. The wheel discs are also unusual for an English coachbuilder, adding to the continental “flavor.”

The car’s subsequent collector ownership included the well-known Bentley and Rolls-Royce enthusiast, Dr. Mark Sheppard. Following Dr. Sheppard’s passing in 1978, it was sold to the renowned West Coast collector Herbert Boyer, who exhibited it at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1983, winning 1st in Class and the Lord Montagu Trophy. Consistent with his reputation, Mr. Boyer then commissioned a fresh body-off restoration of the car before showing it yet again at Pebble Beach, in 1993. It was later acquired by the Blackhawk Collection, and passed in 2002 to Chuck Swimmer, who, a year later, returned it to Pebble Beach. When one considers how seldom a car is invited to that famed event, that this car appeared every 10 years for 30 years is incredible, indeed!

Boasting an honest and prestigious provenance, the car is listed on page 96 of Stanley Sedgwick’s seminal tome on the marque, All the Pre-War Bentleys – As New. In addition, it is pictured on page 175 of the 2003 edition of Johnnie Green’s Bentley: Fifty Years of the Marque. It is accompanied to sale here by the aforementioned Hunt House documentation, as well as by information received from the Rolls-Royce Foundation. The car remains in fine condition throughout, evidence of its good care, with paint, interior, chrome, and brightwork that all present very nicely. The tool kit in the boot is complete, and rather spectacular in its own right.

In many ways, B111FC represents the “Silent Sports Car’s” first tentative steps back toward its performance roots. Specified with lightweight bodywork for fast touring, with aggressive modern lines, it could be considered the “3½-Litre Continental”—one of the quickest and most attractive Derby Bentleys of its era.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more