A vintage Bentley bought for £260 has been restored to its former glory after being rebuilt from parts scattered around the former owner’s HOUSE – and is now worth #800,000.
The dismantled 1928 Bentley 4.5-litre Drop Head UP2100 was found at a three-storey town house after its owner Stuart Wallace died last year, aged 75.
Parts of the 87-year-old rare motor – of only which eight were made – had been gathering dust at the property in Richmond, London for over 50 years.
Mr Wallace had bought the classic car for £280 in 1962 but could not afford to run it as he was a student at the time.
He refused to sell his pride and joy but with nowhere to store it he took apart the components and kept them at his home where they remained for 58 years.
The former English teacher even kept a log of every part, complete with photographs – with some being stored in jars of oil in the hope that one day it would be brought back to life.
It was only after his death that Stuart’s wish came true when daughter Bea Wallace-Hartstone called in a specialist Bentley dealership.
Experts said they were left stunned after entering the house to find car parts along the stairs, hidden under the bed and inside cupboards.
A team of 12 specialists from the Medcalf Collection then spent 10 months painstakingly putting the pieces together to make it fully driveable again.
The Bentley is now on display in the dealership showroom who are selling it on the family’s behalf.
Yesterday (Thurs) William Medcalf, head of the Medcalf Collection, said: “About a year ago a very nice lady called and said her father had passed away and that he had a couple of old cars in his house, one of which was a Bentley.
“I walked into the house and sure enough on the bare entrance hall floorboards was a Bentley cylinder block.
“I saw a clutch on the stairs, then the conrods. There were literally bits everywhere and throughout the three-storey house.
“We found headlights under a bed and a dashboard and radiator hidden away in a spare room.
“We found enough parts to complete a rolling chassis but it looked like the bodywork had been lost over time.
“But Stuart’s daughter told us about a garage he had and we found the bodywork inside.
“There was also a large metal chest underneath a tarpaulin which contained more missing pieces.
“There were only eight built in this specification and this is the only known survivor.
“It cost Stuart less than half the price of a Mini but he hadn’t banked on the cost of running the car.
“It can only be original once.
“Our plan was to keep it as preserved as possible.
“During its reassembly, the team added several new sections of wood to ensure the car was solid, but that was the extent of the new materials.
“The rest is all original. It still has its original lead seals in place and its original wire wheels and tires.
“Incredibly, not a single nut and bolt anywhere on the car has been replaced.
“It would have cost about £370 when new and Stuart bought it for approximately #280 in 1962.
“As for its value now, that’s when the real debate starts – given its rarity, provenance and originality with matching numbers.
“A four-seater model went for £800,000 a while ago and Bonhams has an original Bentley in its sale at Beaulieu this coming weekend.
“This is a two-seater model. It’s only got 39,000 miles on the clock, so it’s in great condition.
“As with all classic and vintage cars, it’s the price the prospective buyer puts on their passion.”
Mrs Wallace-Hartstone added: “My dad was always messing around with cars and storing old parts and spares everywhere.
“He kept a dismantled AC Cobra in my bedroom. He was crazy about cars.”
Anyone interested in buying the classic car can call 01730 893 992 or go to www.themedcalfcollection.com.