B168 EF is a stunning drophead coupé with original Barker coachwork. It is understood to be one of just three bodies built by Barker of this design to fit the Derby Bentley chassis specification. This 3 ½ litre model was the first model produced by Rolls-Royce following their acquisition of the Bentley brand. It was designed to showcase the new ethos of sporting quality and grace, but retains the famous curved radiator known from earlier Bentley models.
B168 EF stands out with its beautiful two-tone blue coachwork. Repainted in 2013 to a high standard, the colour reflects the pale blue of the original paintwork. The car is upholstered with smart grey leather, and the low hood line adds to the extremely attractive and clean appearance. The current owner records that they purchased the car after “love at first sight” at the RREC Annual Rally.
The chassis build cards note that B168 EF was originally fitted with an ‘E’ series engine, Rudge Whitworth wire wheels, standard steering, spare contacts on the dashboard, and a modified petrol pump and accelerator pedal. It was sold via Rollsleigh Ltd. in Edinburgh to Mr R.C. Whitfield in Wallasey, Chestershire in July 1935.
During 1955 and 1956 significant work was carried out on the car by Arthur Norris of Cromwell Place. This included having the hood recovered in grey mohair, both doors rehung, the interior woodwork stripped and recellulosed, and a new battery and distributor fitted. During the 1960s it had two prestigious owners. Bill Lake the respected Bentley collector purchased the car in 1964 and in 1969 it was bought by the Rt. Hon. Alan Clark, a figure for owning old cars. More recently in 2007 B168 EF underwent a full engine overhaul and was upgraded to a high ration back axle. Moreover, a new cylinder head was fitted and the wheels rebuilt.
The car comes with a substantial history file. This includes a 1961 log book, general articles about the car, and numerous documents relating to work carried, including extensive work by ourselves in recent years.
B168 EF has toured extensively, both in the UK and across Europe. In 2016 it participated in the Heveningham Hall inaugural Concours d’Elegance to mark the tercentenary of Capability Brown’s birth. In the November 1982 RREC club bulletin previous owner L. Scull claimed that the B168 EF is “perhaps the most practical to drive under present day conditions” of the classic cars that he had encountered, lauding its ability to accelerate and reach modern speeds effortlessly.
The car has very versatile coachwork, offering the joy of open-top motoring with the practicality of wind-up windows, and is a pleasure to drive. It is a wonderful example of a drophead Derby Bentley that makes a delightful touring car.