Home Property Finance & InvestmentMortgages Bentley racing driver Bernard Rubin’s palatial Mayfair flat sold for a record sale price at £16 million

Bentley racing driver Bernard Rubin’s palatial Mayfair flat sold for a record sale price at £16 million

by LLP Editor
8th Aug 23 4:49 pm

In the biggest apartment deal in Mayfair in the last two years, Wetherell has sold the magnificent £16 million.

The 4,100 sq.ft. first floor five-bedroom lateral apartment at 49 Grosvenor Square, overlooking The Connaught Hotel, which during the 1920s was the London home of Le Mans racing driver Bernard Rubin (1896-1936), one of the legendary ‘Bentley Boys’, the famous Bentley sportscar racing drivers.

The record-breaking sale of the lateral residence at 49 Grosvenor Square is the highest price achieved for an unmodernised apartment in Mayfair for the last two years. The deal has also achieved the highest £ per sqft value (£3,900 per sqft) for an unmodernised apartment sale in Mayfair over the last 12 months. Wetherell say that this is the first time that the landmark apartment in Grosvenor Square had come onto the market for sale in over 30 years, purchased by a British buyer who has acquired the property to serve as a London family home.

Due to the size of the apartment and the favoured aspect overlooking Carlos Place and The Connaught Hotel Wetherell highlight that there were several interested parties and serious bidders, including existing residents of the apartment building.

Peter Wetherell, Founder & Executive Chairman of Wetherell says: “This outstanding sale of the former Grosvenor Square residence of ‘Bentley Boy’ racing driver Bernard Rubin is the biggest apartment deal in Mayfair in the last two years. The sale is also one of the biggest property deals for a flat in London this year. This exceptionally large and rare first floor apartment overlooks Carlos Place and The Connaught Hotel where Rubin loved to dine and party with the other ‘Bentley Boy’ racing drivers, four of whom owned apartments in the same complex. With its ‘Bentley Boy’ history, high ceilings and Connaught views this trophy property is one of the finest lateral apartments in Mayfair.”

Wetherell note that the vast apartment building at 49 Grosvenor Square has an interesting history. It was originally the site of the London mansion of the wealthy Earls of Pembroke and is located on an extremely large plot, extending from 49-50 Grosvenor Square into Carlos Place.

The current Neo-Georgian style Edwardian apartment building on the South-East corner of Grosvenor Square was originally built in 1925-1926 and was then refurbished and modernised in 1945-1947. During the 1920s the apartment complex at 49-50 Grosvenor Square was the Mayfair home of four gentlemen racing drivers, known collectively as the ‘Bentley Boys’, because a Bentley was their car of choice. The four ‘Bentley Boys’ who lived in the apartment complex were Bernard Rubin, Glen Kidston, Tim Berkin and Woolf Barnato.

After a gruelling day’s racing, the ‘Bentley Boys’ would return to Mayfair, race around Grosvenor Square and park their green Bentley sportscars outside the apartment building. This resulted in cab drivers in Mayfair referred to the South-East corner of Grosvenor Square as ‘Bentley Corner’, although, as historic photographs show, the Bentleys were actually normally parked in either Carlos Place or Mount Street.

Australian born Bernard Rubin moved to London with his family in 1908 and lived most of his life in England. He inherited a vast fortune when his pearl-trader father died and turned his attention to motor racing. His inheritance enabled him to purchase in 1926 the apartment at 49 Grosvenor Grosvenor square which has direct views onto The Connaught Hotel where Rubin liked to have lunch, dinner and party.

The apartment, originally the home of racing driver Bernard Rubin, spans the entire depth of the apartment building and offers grand proportions throughout including over 3 metre ceiling heights, tall sash windows and south-facing views over Carlos Place and The Connaught Hotel.

The large reception hallway leads into the dual aspect reception room which has five large sash windows offering views onto The Connaught Hotel. There is an adjoining cocktail bar and it is from the cocktail bar and reception room that Rubin hosted parties attended by his Bentley racing driver colleagues Woolf ‘Babe’ Barnato, Glen Kidston and Tim Birkin and Mayfair socialites including Barbara Cartland who described the ‘Bentley Boys’ as “great drivers and even better dancers”.

The apartment also includes a large dining room with feature fireplace, a study/library and a large family kitchen. The principal bedroom suite has built-in wardrobes and a large ensuite bathroom and the dressing room could be used as a fifth bedroom. There are three further bedrooms (two ensuite), a family bathroom, guest cloakroom and a staff office.

Rubin worked hard and played hard, the highlight of his glittering racing career was winning the Le Mans 24-hour race for Bentley in 1928 with his co-driver Woolf Barnato. Like Rubin the three other ‘Bentley Boys’ also purchased apartments in the 49-50 Grosvenor Square apartment complex.

Woolf ‘Babe’ Barnato was the heir to the Kimberley diamond mine, and later Chairman and owner of the entire Bentley car company. Glen Kidston raced at Brooklands, the Monte Carlo Rally, and raced motorbikes at the Isle of Man TT. Like Rubin his greatest moment also came at Le Mans which he won in 1930, again partnered by Woolf Barnato. The Honourable Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin was given his nickname Tim as a child after a comic book character called Tiger Tim, with his co-driver Woolf Barnato he won the 1929 Le Mans race.

For further information on the finest homes for sale or let in Mayfair contact Wetherell on Tel: +44 (0)20 7529 5566 or visit www.wetherell.co.uk

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