Ex-Rhodes Bentley and VW GTI join docket for H&H Classics auction

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A 1924 Bentley 3-litre Simplex coupe and a 1978 Volkswagen Golf GTI promotional model — very different cars for very different owners — have been added to the docket for H&H Classics auction scheduled for June 5 at the Royal Automobile Club’s Woodcote Park Estate in England.

The ’24 Bentley originally was delivered to Francis William Rhodes, nephew of Cecil John Rhodes, British empire builder, founder not only of Rhodesia but of the De Beer diamond empire.

Bentley dash | H&H Classics photos

The Bentley is the only 3-litre fitted with Simplex coupe coachwork by H.J. Milliner, according to H&H Classics. It also has four wind-up windows rather the typical side curtains.  The car is expected to sell for £340,000 to £380,000 ($460,000 to $515,000).

After his uncle’s death, Francis William Rhodes lived in his uncle’s Dalham Hall estate in Suffolk for many years, “with the Bentley joining him (there) from 1924 onwards,” H&H noted. The estate later passed through various owners, currently Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, a noted racehorse owner and ruler of Dubai.

“Besides being a wonderful and highly original example of Bentley’s iconic 3-Litre model, the car has a fascinating provenance linking it to one of the most powerful men in Britain at the time whose legacy continues to this day with the Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford which continues to bring some of the world’s brightest minds to study in Britain,” Damian Jones, head of sales for H&H Classics, was quoted in a news release.

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Bentley 8-cylinder engine

Joining the Rhodes Bentley on the auction docket is the 1978 Golf GTI that was one of 22 special-order cars Volkswagen used to introduce that model to the UK. 

“This (is a) ’pathfinder’ car which led the way in the charge that took and held the ground for hot hatches for years, is the last known remaining one, making it one of the earliest in the UK,” H&H noted. “It has just undergone a complete restoration to original spec, adding hugely to its attractiveness to buyers of such a classic.”

The GTI’s pre-sale estimated value is £28,000 to £32,000 ($38,000 to $43,500).

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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