Lot 170 - 1929 Bentley 4.5 litre Open Tourer by Vanden Plas
|Odometer reading||30,808 miles|
|Estimate||£525,000 - £575,000|
|Result||Sold - £510,000|
W. O. Bentley proudly debuted the new 3-litre car bearing his name at the 1919 Olympia Motor Exhibition, the prototype engine having fired up for the first time just a few weeks earlier. In only mildly developed form, this was the model which was to become a legend in motor racing history and which, with its leather-strapped bonnet, classical radiator design and British Racing Green livery has become the archetypal vintage sportscar. The new 4½ litre model effectively employed the chassis, transmission and brakes of the 3 litre, combined with an engine that was in essence two-thirds of the six-cylinder 6½ litre unit. Thus the new four-cylinder motor retained the six's 100x140mm bore/stroke and Bentley's familiar four-valves-per-cylinder fixedhead architecture but reverted to the front-end vertical camshaft drive of the 3 litre. Bentley Motors lost no time in race-proving its new car. It is believed that the first prototype engine went into the 3 litre chassis of the 1927 Le Mans practice car. The original 4½ litre car, nicknamed by the team 'Old Mother Gun' and driven by Frank Clement and Leslie Callingham, promptly set the fastest race lap of 73.41mph before being eliminated in the infamous 'White House Crash' multiple pile-up.
The 4½ litre was produced for four years, all but nine of the 665 cars made being built on the 3 litre's 'Long Standard', 10' 10"-wheelbase chassis. Purchasers of the 4½ litre model were, in common with those of all vintage-period Bentleys, free to specify their preferences from a very considerable range of mechanical and electrical equipment in addition to whatever body style and coachbuilder may be required.
This outstanding Bentley was first registered on 29th June 1929 to Sq. Ldr. C.A. Ridley of Horley with the car changing hands to Capt. H.R. Campion just prior to the war. During the war the Bentley was laid up in the Cumberland Hotel garage in London and fortunately survived unscathed with the car re-commissioned after the war by Capt. Campion's son. Originally built with a Maythorne and Sons saloon body, it is thought to have been re-bodied by Vanden Plas circa 1965. The engine and back axle were overhauled by Sid Cooper of Birmingham, a renowned Bentley specialist. The Bentley is in splendid order today having had significant sums spent on her over a long period. The history file is substantial and dates back to 1964, included are a number of hand written notes showing expenditure and also details of some European outings.
A Bentley 4½ litre is a thing of beauty, to sit and drive one is a memorable experience. The current vendor has thoroughly enjoyed owning this outstanding example after searching long and hard to find the car he wanted. It is easy to see why he chose to purchase UU6 794, aesthetically everything is right about the car, mechanically she appears to be in very good order and condition throughout is excellent. She is fitted with a Le Mans fuel tank and radiator cap, electric fuel pumps, double Hartford shock absorbers front and rear, correct P100 headlamps, fold flat windscreen with aero screens. The dashboard has the correct instrumentation with Jaeger speedometer and rev counter with Smiths original gauges completing the impressive line-up. This is a matching numbers example and remains a car of elegance and style that is still more than able to cruise at speed should you choose to do so.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.