Having won Le Mans in 1928 and set numerous speed records at Brooklands, the 4 ½ litre Bentley was considered to be the ‘must have’ sporting automobile for the dashing, affluent young man around town! The most popular body style when new was the Weymann Sports Saloon, FS 3615 being such an example, built by the famous high-class London coachbuilders Freestone & Webb.
Delivered to Captain C.D Leyland of Haggerston Castle, Northumberland, on 4th July 1930. He was a keen motorist and covered almost 6,000 miles in the first year! But by 1931 Leyland couldn’t resist another new Bentley and the factory service records show that FS 3615 continued to be regularly used by its new owner, covering a total of almost 46,000 miles by 1937.
In 1956 FS 3615 moved to Australia, being bought by Mr T.P Cox. The car remained in his family ownership for over thirty years, before the Bentley – still in Australia – was purchased in 1988 by Alan Mingaye, a Bentley Drivers Club member who regularly used to take the Sports Saloon to Club events.
Sadly, after the war the habit was to throw away the bodies of closed cars and replace them with Vanden Plas-style open four-seat versions instead, so only a fraction of those original, closed examples have survived. FS 3615 is the last known surviving example of an original Freestone & Webb Weymann Sports Saloon on the ultimate late specification, heavy crank and chassis frame 4 ½ litre. When taking into account that not only does it retain its original body but engine and gearbox also, this Bentley is not just rare – it’s unique.
Repatriated to the UK in 2012, FS 3615 is accompanied by a report by marque historian Clare Hay who notes just how original an example it is. The subject of a thorough mechanical service by R.C Moss Ltd, this 4 ½ litre is one of the finest driving examples we have ever come across.
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