This matching numbers 6½ litre has a wonderful story to tell. Found dilapidated in a government yard in Africa in the sixties, the Bentley started its life in style being sold through London Bentley agent, Jack Withers, to a Mrs Henry Bull of South Kensington. The Bull family were, it seems, very familiar with the Bentley marque, with Major P.C. Bull, resident at the same address, owning five Bentleys between 1926 and 1936.
Built as a 1927 Model Standard Six on the 12’6” wheelbase chassis with Standard Model specification engine number BX2410 and with the BS gearbox, BX2411 benefited from a free of charge update to 1928 specification by the works, as noted in the service record that accompanies the Bentley. This is due to the fact that Bentley rushed the 6½ litre into production for financial reasons and committed to retrospectively update all the early models. Unusually, BX2411 still has its original rod system to the brakes with no servo. The suspension is by replica Hartford friction units and electrical equipment is by Smiths. The works sent the completed chassis to Harrisons for a body frame and then to Offord for skinning.
It is clear that the Bentley was cherished during this period, with a continuous service record through to 1939 and no change of owner recorded. A steady stream of maintenance work is noted including carburettor and magneto adjusting. There is the usual gap in the services records over the Second World War, followed by an advert in MotorSport in June 1948, offering the Bentley for sale. By this point BX2411 was owned by a Mr Cowan who had fitted the Bentley with a special load-carrying body. The Bentley is thought to have been sold to a new owner in South Africa at this juncture, reputed to be a Mr D. Lamont Smith. The Bentley passed between several owners in Keyna, a period that saw several different open four seater bodies fitted to the British behemoth.
By 1958, BX2411 was in Entebbe, Uganda, owned by a T.J. Leonard. It was first discovered there by Bentley and ERA man, Donald Day who mentioned it in the BDC Review in April 1961 ‘The car has not run for at least a year and is apparently without its water pump’. We believe that at this point the Bentley was under the control of the Ugandan government.
There follows a wonderful story, written up in full in the Bentley’s history file, documenting how the Bentley’s next owner, David Gaul, acquired BX2411in December 1969. Reading Donald Day’s piece in the BDC Review he had travelled to Entebbe and tracked the Bentley down by asking for directions in a local shop. The gentleman behind the counter recalled playing in the Bentley as a child, as it had been parked under a tree on the site of a previous hostel. He explained that the Ugandan army had taken the hostel on Independence and everything had been cleared away to a nearby Public Works Department yard. Gaul visited this yard and found the Bentley in the yard’s scrap heap. Apparently, such was the neglect to BX2411, that a small fig tree, about a foot tall, was growing out of the lagging of the first silencer box! Permission had to be granted to buy government property and the Bentley was eventually acquired for the local price of mixed scrap. Gaul arranged for a local driver to take the Bentley from Entebbe to the Ugandan Company’s workshops near Kampala, there to be stored until it was sent to him in Kenya. After a big uprising in Kampasa, the Bentley finally made it to Kenya in March 1970.
BX2411 resided with Gaul for many years in pieces, shipped between Kenya, England, Zimbabwe and South Africa before finally returning to the UK in 1986. Gaul comprehensively rebuilt BX2411 and fitted it with a Park Ward drophead coupé body removed from chassis LB2348. In 1992 he sold it to Cas Scharrighuisen. Subsequently the Bentley has been passed between a small handful of owners who have enjoyed her on the road and maintained her to a very high standard.
A truly rare opportunity to acquire a genuine, ‘matching numbers’ 6½ litre Bentley, this twenties siren is just waiting to be enjoyed. An ideal companion for all the best international rallies and concours, along with the prestigious Goodwood events, its new owner will find themselves in very good company indeed.