Babe Barnato’s Battered Bentley could make Brooklands mint

A battered Bentley once owned by original Bentley Boy Woolf ‘Babe’ Barnato will go under the hammer in May, and could fetch a fortune. It’s in a right old state, but this decrepit pile of rust is what’s left of a first series 3½ litre Derby Bentley, ordered in 1934 by former Bentley chairman Barnato.

At the time, Bentleys were ordered as a chassis and had a body fitted by the buyer, making every one a custom piece. This one had an aluminium saloon body fitted between February and March 1934.

Barnato kept the car for two years, but sold it when he took delivery of a Bentley 4¼ litre. Barnato is most famous for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans race three years in a row – the first racer to do so.

Today’s owner bought the car in 1967 and, according to seller Historics at Brooklands, sent the engine away for repair after discovering the block was cracked.

However, the engine disappeared, and the car has been off the road since then.

So, it’s sold with no engine and much of the paperwork missing, but the chassis number is still visible, and it matches records held by both the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club and the Bentley Drivers Club.

It’s being sold with no reserve to reflect its sorry state, although it will still attract a bidding frenzy among those with the cash and knowledge to get it good as new.

The auction takes place on Saturday 26 May at Brooklands.