It seems the story about buying a big boat and get a free car isn't the only two-in-one deal pitched recently. We have another one where you now go to an auction, buy a 1935 Bentley and get the company that made the coach built body for free.
In those days, people usually buy a chassis and then end up fixing a body from one of many coachbuilders. This was especially the case with people buying Rolls Royces, Bentleys and the now extinct British car brand Alvis. Coachbuilders like HJ Mulliner, Park Ward, Gurney Nutting, Vanden Plas and Hooper all vied for the same piece of action, making bodies for the car brands stated above.
Of course in the days of separate chassis and body construction it was easy and the business thrived. But since the incorporation of the monocoque chassis by almost all major car manufacturers and also by luxury car manuafacturers, coach building has slowly dissappeared. At the most the companies are limited to interior trimmings and changes to the front grill and fenders at the very least. Some larger ones still have bespoke manufacturing facilities but the jobs a few and far in between.
So recently a 1935 Bentley 3liter saloon with a body and interior, designed and built by Freestone & Webb had sold for £83,477 (from a pre-sale value of between £75,000 – £90,000). The Bentley was offered by Historics at Brooklands at their innaugral June 2nd 2010 auction with a comprehensive array of diaries documenting it’s many trips in great detail. In those days people took driving trips seriously and documented the stuff they did.
Freestone & Webb was formed in 1923 by V.E. Freestone and A.J. Webb and was producing 15 Rolls-Royces and Bentleys annually with bespoke bodywork and interiors. Freestone & Webb regularly exhibited at the London Motor Show and, for nine consecutive years, was awarded with the Gold Medal in the Private Coachbuilders competition.
Following the death of Mr. Webb in 1955, the company was taken over by HR Owen (another coachbuilding company) and continued to build bodies until 1958, after which the name never used on another coachbuilt vehicle again.
The car’s vendor discovered and acquired the company name and registered the limited company again in 1990. It is now offered, together with the Bentley, as an asset of the company and the company is also debt free. So the person who bought the Bentley owns not only a fine motor car, but also a piece of British automotive coachbuilding history.
Okay, so the name isn't as renowned as Mulliner or Park Ward, who are so famously related to Rolls Royce and Bentley. But it goes to show that people are getting to be more innovative in trying to sell nowdays.