Entrepreneur and vintage car connoisseur Gulam Momen shares the tale of his 1938 Bentley 3½ Litre Tourer.
How did you develop a passion for vintage and classic cars?
(Smiles) The love for cars runs in the family. My father was always passionate about these golden oldies. In fact at present his 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom 3 is in prime condition and parked at my Rawdon Street residence. It is fair to say, that my father’s passion for cars rubbed onto me.
When and from whom did you acquire this Bentley?
This car belonged to a friend of mine. I bought it from him about 30 years back and the car has been with me ever since.
What was the condition of the car when you purchased it?
The car was in prime condition when I purchased it. My friend had maintained it really well.
So you really didn’t have to restore it?
(Smiles) Oh not at all. Other than some minor alterations, I really didn’t require to do much with the car. Although I must mention that the car was originally cream in colour. I got it repainted to its present maroon shade.
Tell us about the most special thing about this car.
This car is a single piece custom made Bentley. The coachwork has been done by Pack Ward.
How do you maintain this car?
A gentleman called Mojahid is in charge of the maintenance of this car. In my opinion, he is the best in the business when it comes to maintenance of vintage and classic cars. He diligently cleans the car and polishes every nut and bolt on a regular basis.
How often do you drive this car?
I drive this car once a week. But during the winter months I drive it more frequently.
What is your take on this car?
This car has a unique blend of style and grace. It exudes a sense of class and at the end of the day, a Bentley is a Bentley!
Bentley 3½ Litre
The Bentley 3½ Litre was first manufactured in September 1933, shortly after the death of Henry Royce and was the first new Bentley model following Rolls-Royce’s acquisition of the Bentley brand in 1931. This era of Bentley models are also known as “Derby Bentleys” because they were built in the Rolls-Royce factory located in Derby, England.
At a time when the Ford V8 could be purchased for £100, an early Bentley 3½ Litre cost around £1,500, putting it beyond the reach of all but the wealthiest consumers. Despite not being a car of remarkable outright performance, the car’s unique blend of style and grace proved popular with the inter-war elite and it became known as the “silent sports car.”
The Bentley 3½ Litre featured a higher compression ratio, sportier camshaft profile and two SU carburettors on a crossflow cylinder head. Actual power output was roughly 110 bhp at 4500 rpm, allowing the car to reach a top speed of 90 mph (145 km/h). The engine displaced 3.5 L (3469 cc/223 inches³) with 6 cylinders, 3¼ inches bore and 4½ inches stroke.
A 4-speed manual transmission with synchromesh on 3rd and 4th, 4-wheel leaf spring suspension and 4-wheel servo-assisted mechanical brakes. The car also has a glass partition between the front and rear row of seating.