10 February 2022

The Rolling Chassis V1

Bentleys were delivered new as a ‘rolling chassis’ finished in grey primer. The test driver completed his checks, as pictured above, and signed the car off before it was driven to the owner’s Coachbuilder of choice. Other than knowing which road springs to fit (open or closed car) the factory had little knowledge of what an owner would have designed or built. When the coachwork was finished, the car would return to the factory for approval. Clearances around the chassis and controls where meticulously inspected and the mechanics checked to make sure the Coachbuilders had not interfered with anything. Only at that point was the car issued with its much coveted five-year guarantee.

GJ755 has been restored to exactly how she left the factory in 1930 as a finished chassis. Factory finishes have been applied as faithfully as possible. For example, the entire engine is hand scraped exactly how all Bentley engines where finished. Grey primer is applied by hand to almost everything else for weather protection - the company were not interested in colours; all cars were finished this way. The Coachbuilders would paint in the final colour by hand on the finished car where visible from the outside, whereas the rest of the car was left grey. A set of five lamps were supplied out the box in black from Lucas. With electro plating still in its infancy and incredibly expensive this was kept to a minimum.

Our next task is to operate solely as the Coachbuilder Martin Walker and refit the car’s original Sports Saloon body. We are following the original process to the letter, which few if any have done before.

Updates to follow…

The Rolling Chassis V1