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'Barn Find' 1936 Bentley with ties to war hero that bombed Hitler sold after 30 years hidden away

A 1936 BENTLEY 4.5 litre Vanden Plas Tourer sold at H&H Classics' Duxford, UK Sale.

 Photo - H&H Classics

Photo - H&H Classics

The car was previously owned by former RAF pilot Charles Blackman who took part in the raid to bomb Hitler’s mountain-top retreat in the Bavarian Alps in April 1945. It sold on March 20th at the Duxford Imperial War Museum with H&H Classics for £454,250 ($596,868).

Mr. Blackham served in the RAF 550 Squadron and took part in the raid to bomb Hitler's famous mountain-top retreat in the Bavarian Alps in April 1945. Later that month he made emergency food drops on the German/Dutch border where people were facing famine.

 Photo - H&H Classics

Photo - H&H Classics

Charles Blackham drove the classic convertible for 36 years before his age forced him to take it off road. The car then spent the last 30 years locked up at his home in Stockport, Greater Manchester, but was unearthed after his death in January. One of just six ever made by Bentley, the 4.5-litre classic was sold off as part of his estate.

The car is one of just six W.O. Bentley 4.5 litre cars assembled by the Service Department from new old stock parts (NOS) in 1936, five years after Bentley was taken over by Rolls Royce. It has matching numbers and original Vanden Plas Tourer coachwork. The car has had just two owners from new, its current owner since 1952.

In 1936 Nobby Clarke and Hubert Pike came up with the idea of using the stockpile of new old stock and reconditioned parts that they had inherited from Rolls-Royce’s 1931 takeover of Bentley to produce new W.O. Bentleys. This kept staff busy in down time and also used up spare parts, a win win result. Ten cars were built in this way, six 4.5 litre cars and four 3.5 litre cars using the most desirable Bentley components.

Damian Jones, Head of Sales at H&H Classics says: “This is the ultimate Bentley 'barn find' in the marque's centenary year. It is a really wonderful discovery for all fans of the marque made even more special in the make’s 100th birthday year. It sold last time for just £260 so this time we believed it would do a thousand times better and it did not disappoint.”

Damian Jones adds: “This Bentley is so unusual because it was assembled in the mid 1930s using a chassis and mechanical parts which dated from no later than 1931.”

 Photo - H&H Classics

Photo - H&H Classics

“Only the body was freshly made when the car was assembled and sold as a new car in 1936. The WO Bentleys made from 1919 to 1931 are far more valuable than the Derby Bentleys which followed from 1933 to 1940. The car was accepted as a WO Bentley because its chassis and mechanicals were all made during the WO era.”

About H&H Classics 

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H&H was founded by Simon Hope in 1993 as a specialist auction house dedicated solely to the sale of collectors’ motorcars and motorcycles. The company is staffed by hands-on enthusiasts with over 600 years’ combined experience, and its specialist valuers are among the most knowledgeable in the industry.

H&H has had the pleasure of handling everything from 1890s London to Brighton runners through to 1990s Formula 1 cars, not to mention a variety of iconic motorcycles and holds a considerable number of World Record auction prices.

With the head office near Warrington, Cheshire and its Private Sales Garage near Hindhead in Surrey and specialists based throughout Europe, H&H holds regular physical sales at the Imperial War Museum Duxford in Cambridgeshire, National Motorcycle Museum in the West Midlands and Pavilion Gardens, Buxton. There are also Automobilia Online Sales and Live Auctions Online throughout the year.

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