A Real Peaky Blinder
Every now and then a car turns up that is just delightful – original detail is a real pleasure to behold. So often the little things are removed by hurrying mechanics from years ago with no time, or perhaps patience, to refit them. Better than that though, is something that has never been apart, where the last hands to have touched it were those men at the works. It is incredible that something so old can be so intriguing and gain even a soul. Having covered less than one hundred thousand miles from new, Chassis AD3652 has a remarkable history, being delivered via Jack Olding & Co. to Mr Arthur Grout in 1930.
Arthur was the landlord of The Southampton Arms which was at the centre of the ‘horse racing wars’ of the 1920’s, now made famous by the Netflix series ‘Peaky Blinders’. A sports four seater by Vanden Plas with fully valanced wings, finished unusually in green. This heavy chassis 4½ model was built to the latest specification, including self-wrapping brakes, electron engine etc. but was curiously ordered with an aluminium sump and extra-long bonnet. This was a feature usually reserved for the racing Bentleys to allow access to the back of the dashboard. AD3652 has a fully panelled aperture between the body and the bulkhead which negates this (something not previously seen), so the extra-long bonnet is but for aesthetics giving the car an imposing look. It is believed Arthur failed to keep up repayments on the Bentley and so was taken back in by the factory in 1935. This is supported by a note on the chassis card. The mystery starts from humble beginnings – Arthur amassed a fortune very, very quickly, he ran a total of three pubs and on his death left an enormous fortune. Dr. Leslie bought AD3652 from Bentley Motors in 1935. Like many Bentleys, it became part of the family; holidays and the school run saw a much simpler everyday life.
Having passed from father to son, today AD3652 stands in extremely original condition. She has never been rebuilt, only ever worked on when needed. The only major works being completed by a North London Bentley specialist just after the war. Recently a careful preservation has been completed saving most of the interior leather trim and external body covering. The weather equipment has been replaced ensuring she is both practical and very usable. The car has been returned to its original green and sympathetically mechanically checked and adjusted. She is reliable having just completed 1000 miles on test and with an incredible and possibly unique one family ownership history dating back to the Factory.