A unique combination known as the 'Jentley'; Jaguar MkVIII running
gear with a William Arnold Derby Bentley body; CooperCraft brakes; power
steering; XJS manual gearbox; beautifully executed and on offer from a deceased
This handsome special started out in life as a 1957 Jaguar MkVIII - a fine car in its own right, the history of which is scant other than the chassis number suggests it had a manual box with overdrive and was originally fitted with a 3.4-litre engine.
It was acquired in 1966 by Arthur Billard, a silversmith by trade, but gradually the body deteriorated to such an extent that it was decided to take radical action. In the early 1970s Billard had discovered a Derby Bentley body sitting in the corner of a fellow silversmith's workshop which was acquired for £12! It was to be a perfect match.
The Jaguar chassis was given a major restoration and notes on file suggest the 3.4-litre engine was rebuilt by Ken Jenkins of Worksop and mated to an all-synchro XJS manual gearbox with overdrive - 2,700rpm at 70mph by all accounts. The brakes were converted to CooperCraft discs and Burman power steering fitted to make parking a doddle.
The William Arnold Streamline body dates from 1936 and was originally fitted to Bentley chassis number B180GA which was owned by Frank Cobb, a well-known silversmith from Sheffield, who was a relative of John Cobb, well-known racing driver and Land Speed Record holder.
Cleverly grafted into position, it retains its original body structure and bonnet, with modified wings and the Jaguar grille, modified by Billard himself. It all sits very naturally in place and makes a very fine combination - in effect a coachbuilt Jaguar MkVIII.
The retained dash is Jaguar, with the rest of the trim/interior being Bentley/William Arnold, complete with some nice touches including a flower vase.
Painted Biascan Blue and sitting on E-Type V12 wheels, the job was finally completed in around 2005, but sadly the owner's eyesight was failing by then and he didn't get to drive the finished car, although he did enjoy regular trips as a passenger. An online check of the MOT history shows that it was tested every year between 2005 and 2014, covering some 4,750 miles during this period.
On offer from a deceased estate, it was acquired through Jeremy Wade in 2015 and given regular exercise up until about 18 months ago. Spencer Lane Jones gave the car a comprehensive service and check over in 2019 costing £1,100 and the family have recently had it running (see attached video) although it will doubtless benefit from a degree of recommissioning.
Known as the 'Jentley' and featured in a write-up in the Bentley Driver's Club magazine in 2014, it looks like a very easy car to both drive and own, with an ability to cover big distances with Grace Space and Pace....
Note that the car was started on 23rd May and was running nicely as per the video
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