In 1931 Rolls-Royce purchased Bentley Motors and moved the Bentley factory from Cricklewood to Derby. The Bentley produced there are commonly referred to as 'Derby-Bentleys.' Introduced in 1933 the first of these 'Derby-Bentleys' was simply referred to as the 3 1/2 Litre and was very similar in design to the Rolls Royce 20/25 launched in the same year. Bentley became the more powerful and sportier variant of Rolls Royce, however, compared to the previous Bentley models from Cricklewood, the 3 1/2 Litre engine was quite a step backwards technically.
In 1936 Rolls Royce launched the 25/30 model and the Derby Bentleys were also fitted with the 4.257 Litre engine, attached to a four-speed gearbox. The extra 588 cubic centimeters gave this model the same acceleration potential in fourth gear as the previous car offered in third gear. This resulted in a very lively and sporty new model.
Production lasted until the outbreak of World War II, with over 1200 examples produced with coachworks by a.o. H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward, James Young, Vanden Plas, Van Vooren, Vesters & Neirinck and more. The similarity in design between the Rolls Royce and Bentley did make things a lot easier for the many coachbuilders responsible for the custom coachwork fitted on both marque's chassis. For the bodies fitted on the Bentley chassis, the coachbuilders usually designed a slightly more aerodynamic and sportier body.
Although the various Drophead Coupe bodies in this gallery may look very similar, there are, in true coachbuilding tradition, no two cars alike. See some variations in the shape of the rear end, the fenders, running boards and many other details.
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