A super rare 4¼-Litre Derby Bentley featuring a unique aerodynamic body made by coachbuilders Pourtout Carrossier, originally built for wealthy Greek racing driver André Embiricos, pays a visit to Bentley’s Crewe factory after finishing its Louis Vuitton ‘Serenissima Run’ rally in Venice. This particular car is especailly important to Bentley because it has a Le Mans history.
Embiricos’ Bentley was a speed demon back in its day, with a recorded top speed of 184.5 km/h. It was designed mainly for going fast. To keep weight down the fastback body with split rear window was crafted in Duralumin, an age-hardenable aluminium alloy.
But the racing driver mainly used it as his daily car. He then sold the car to H.S.F. Hay in 1939, and he used it to race in three Le Mans 24 hour races. The best result the car could achive was a 6th place in 1949.
Racing heritage aside, this unique Bentley also reflects the glory of the olden days where Bentley used coachbuilders for body work. In fact every Bentley from the 1930s is a one-off. The passage below will give you more details:
Throughout the 1930s Bentley Motors, then owned by Rolls-Royce, was producing fast, refined and well-built Grand Tourers from its Derby factory. While many customers sent their chassis to traditional coachbuilders such as Vanden Plas, H.J. Mulliner or Park Ward for elegant bodywork, enthusiasts from across the Channel, where the roads were longer and faster, were eager to explore the new world of aerodynamics. With the support of the factory, one such owner decided to investigate the possibility of a streamlined high-performance Bentley. The result was the most famous Bentley of the Derby era.
Although a one-off, reaction to the Embiricos Bentley encouraged the company to explore more streamlined styles for future production models. In 1939 Bentley designer Ivan Evernden worked with Paulin on a sleek Mark V prototype called Corniche. Unfortunately it was in France when WWII broke out and destroyed during a bombing raid on Dieppe while awaiting shipment to Britain. Post-war, many of the lessons of the Embiricos Bentley reached fruition in the glorious lines of the 1952 R Type Continental, and as such continue to be reflected in the iconic shape of today’s Continental GT coupe.