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Lot 182: Bentley litre Park Ward Drophead Coupe

Fine Motor cars incl. The Jaguar Legend, Coys (14 July 2012)

By the time of the introduction of the 3 litre in 1933 the new model was an astonishing blend of the virtues of both Rolls-Royce and the Bentley company. Faster than almost any creation of the old Cricklewood company products, it was much more refined, following Royce's fixed engineering notion that noise equals waste, with a twin-carburettor six-cylinder engine mounted in a superbly strong chassis. It certainly fulfilled the subtle claim of its advertising as The Silent Sports Car. Throughout the 1930s the demand for increased performance continued as roads improved, and in 1936 engine capacity was increased to 4257cc. Top speed did improve but the biggest increase was in torque, with very impressive top-gear performance figures. It is just such a car we are offering today, a 1936 car.Like all luxury cars of the era, it was offered in chassis form for owners to choose their own coachwork, though for the first time standardised coachwork which could be altered to suit was offered by Park Ward, then rapidly becoming Rolls-Royce's in-house coachbuilder. The Park Ward drophead coupe was greatly admired as much for its lightweight construction as for its graceful looks. The car has a fascinating ownership history, having belonged for the past thirty five years one of the most colourful characters in the whole of the old car world. Adolph Charles 'Ace' Rosner hailed originally from Alabama, where he was born in 1917, though he was based in Washington from 1945 until his death at 94 just last year. His bewildering succession of careers began in the late 1930s when he joined the army, swiftly becoming an Infantry officer; his World War II career was deeply impressive, including taking part in the invasions successively of Morocco, Sicily, Salerno and Anzio. In the course of this he was awarded for gallantry with four purple hearts and three bronze stars, but his active military career was cut short when in 1944 he lost an arm to a German shell in Italy. He then moved over to OSS duties, taking part in many very shadowy operations, before that unit was finally transformed into the CIA. He spent a great deal of time in Europe and retained a flat in London for many years. Cars were a recurrent feature of this extraordinary life, starting from learning to drive on his father's Twin Six Packard at the age of eight. He was to own around two hundred cars in his life, sometimes forty at a time, ranging from great American cars to Ferraris and Bentleys, MGs and other European cars, and proved himself a more than handy racing driver both on American and European circuits.. This Bentley came into Ace's collection some forty years ago. He was a connoisseur of Derby Bentleys, for at the same time he also owned one of the celebrated R G McLeod's Bentley coupes, but Ace wanted an open alternative for summer motoring. He bought B136KT in London and drove it extensively here, but subsequently took it back to Washington, where it remained until being shipped back to the UK earlier this year after his death. B136KT has remarkably sound drophead coachwork, excellent brightwork, and presents beautifully now in two-tone Jade Green and Willow, complementing a lavish interior in Amazon green leather with superb walnut wood cappings.

Lot Details
Auction Fine Motor cars incl. The Jaguar Legend
Coys, Blenheim Palace,Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PX
TypeCar
Lot Number182
Estimate£85000-£100000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1937
Condition rating1
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis numberB136KT
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2