In the 1930s, Rolls-Royce’s Derby factory supplied Bentleys only as chassis, without bodies, and many customers for these refined, fast and enormously desirable cars would then turn to a particular coachbuilder to design and construct a body for them to meet their tastes and requirements. The customer might have some advice from the factory or the dealer about the coachbuilders he or she might consider, or, if the customer had no special requirements and no particular inclinations about styling or individuality, he or she might be directed to Park Ward, who offered a limited range of more or less standardised (and very attractive) designs that they offered at a more clearly defined price unless the customer wanted special variations.
From Abbey of Acton, West London, to Worblaufen of Switzerland, by way of great names like Barker, Gurney Nutting, HJ Mulliner and Saoutchik, this book covers all the British and overseas coachbuilders on the Bentley chassis, and reviews the bodies they built on the 3½-litre, 4¼-litre and the short-lived Mark V. The British coachbuilders are dealt with in alphabetical order, as are the overseas companies in a separate section, with details of the different types of bodies they supplied – saloon, coupé, drophead, sports, sedanca, etc. – and photographs showing the wide variety of their creations. Bentley aficionados will particularly appreciate the inclusion of chassis numbers for all the cars bodied by all the coachbuilders, which makes this a truly inclusive work.
There are some 280 colour photographs, including in-detail shoots of 40 outstanding cars by the distinguished automotive photographer Simon Clay, and 80 black-and-white illustrations from the archives.
Celebrating as it does the work of the leading coachbuilders of the era, as well as Bentley’s quite exceptional productions of the 1930s, this book offers an unrivalled store of knowledge for the many enthusiasts and owners who care passionately about the cars, and serves as a tribute to the people who made them.