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Bryan and Roberta Downes 1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235
Bryan and Roberta Downes 1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235 near Fontevraud L'Abbaye in June 2007
Bryan and Roberta Downes 1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235 rear view



History of  4½ Litre Vintage Bentley GJ3235  Chassis number PB3537  Engine PB3531:-

Here is GJ3235 in June  2007 just north of Fontevraud L'Abbaye in France on a very wet day.


Our 1930 4½ Litre Vintage Bentley

Registration Number GJ 3235

Chassis PB3537

Engine PB 3531

Delivery Date February 1930

I purchased the Bentley in November 1980 from Dr Paul Hummel, of Salcombe, with registration number GJ3235. The car was first registered GJ8727 in February 1930 as a Freestone and Webb saloon and was sold by Jack Olding and Son, Dealers, to Chas. U Peat who lived in Darlington, and owned her until September 1938. The next owner was J B Curry of Totnes, Headmaster of Dartington Hall School. Ronald Loader (later to become hon. Spares’ Registrar of the BDC) bought her from Mr Curry in 1943. When Loader aquired the Bentley it had been modified into a shooting brake from the front door pillar back; the doors and everything forward had been kept. Moreover, it was fitted with a Cowan gas-producer but Loader got rid of that and changed the body colour from drab brown to black and yellow. Loader later ran the Castle Resturant and Bakery in High Town  Bridgenorth and became the first BDC honorary Spares’ registrar. Ronald Loader re-registered the car with the number RL1 and later wrote an article in the BDC “Review” about how he aquired the number and transfered it to the Bentley. It was re-registered again as 39 AAF in about 1957 just prior to it’s sale. The log book mentions Cambourne, but in about 1957 Loader moved to 20 Onslow Gardens, South Kensington London SW7.

Loader sold the Bentley to Tom Quayle, Manager of Martins Bank Plymouth, in December 1957. Quayle was a bit of a “wheeler-dealer” in vintage Bentleys at that time and stripped the shooting brake body from the chassis and fitted a crude flat-sided “boy racer” open body. In this form it was sold to Dr Paul Hummel in 1958 when he was in Kenya, but soon after this he moved back to England and lived in Salcombe. Sometime later, about 1964, he re-registered the Bentley with GJ 3235 which was as near to the original number as he could obtain at the time. Dr Hummel was an enthusiastic member of the BDC and owned it until I bought the Bentley from him in December 1980. The car still has the Edmunds’ bodywork commissioned by Hummel in the late 1960’s.  His friend Tom Rose lent him his works’ team car YW5758 for Edmunds to reproduce the body exactly. In my ownership I’ve done much mechanical work  and driven approximately 80,000 miles, mostly touring France, but also attending events in the UK. In 1983 we shipped the car to South Africa for the “Total Tour of South Africa”. Moreover, I can now claim to have been the careful guardian of this magnificent car for longer (28 years) than any previous owner.

Bryan and Roberta Downes 1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235
Bryan and Roberta Downes' 1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235 front view
1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235 detail showing Fold-Flat Screen
1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235 detail showing Marchal Fork-mounted Lamps
1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235 detail showing Self-Wrapping Front Brakes
1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235 detail showing LeMans Radiator filler
1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235 detail showing 38 gallon LeMans fuel tank
1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235 detail showing deep cut-away, short D type gear lever and dash layout
1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235 detail showing dash instuments

Chassis PB3537 was built at Bentley Motors' Cricklewood Works as a standard 1930 Model 4½  Litre on the standard 10' 10" wheelbase chassis: with engine PB3531; "D" type gearbox; and late pattern rear axle with 15/53 3.53 axle ratio.


The chassis frame is the late pattern with deep bottom flanges and reinforcing plates inside the chassis above the strut gear uprights. The braking system is as per the 1930 specification with self-wrapping brakes and stainless steel handbrake lever.


The engine is the original with Electron sump, turret and valve chest.the sideplates are stainless steel. The carburettors are original HVG5 pattern on the original manifold complete with all the original rods and levers. Also, the brake pedal shaft is the late pattern mounted on alluminium trunion blocks.



The instruments are original Jeager speedo and revolution counter, togather with Smiths' clock. Smiths' 0-60 oil pressure guage, Smiths' bezel switch/ammeter, Smiths' starter switch. and additional oil temperature guage, Ki-gass contol, Bosch horn buttons and twin dash lamps. The switchplate is the standard Bentley unit with thr original chassis number PB3537.


The chassis is also currently fitted with blower strut gear, Marchal fork-mounted headlights, Napoleon (of London) fold-flat screen, 38 gallon LeMans fuel tank, and Adre Hartford friction dampers.

Build Specification of Chassis PB3537 :-

Bryan and Roberta Downes' 1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235
1930 4.5 Litre Bentley GJ3235 detail showing Strut Gear



Anyone  seeking help or advice on any matter related to buying , owning , or maintaining a Vintage Bentley is free to contact me for advice, or if you have seen a Vintage Bentley For Sale.