1928 Bentley 4½-Litre Sports Tourer

1928 Bentley 4½-Litre Sports Tourer 1928 Bentley 4½-Litre Sports Tourer Coachwork by Vanden Plas Registration Number: XV 7620 Chassis Number: AB3364 Engine Number: AB3367 Estimate £650,000 - £700,000 With many customers attempting to fit unsuitably heavy coachwork to the 3-Litre for road use, its competitiveness waning elsewhere, and the Bentley's impressive 6½-Litre an expensive and complex option for many, Bentley was inspired to produce the '4½'. The new model essentially took the running gear of the 3-Litre and combined it with an engine that was effectively two-thirds of the six-cylinder 6½-litre unit. As such, the new four-cylinder motor retained the 6½'s 100 x 140mm bore and stroke, and Bentley's by then established four-valves-per-cylinder fixed cylinder head design, and combined it with the design of the 3-Litre's front-end vertical camshaft arrangement. With competition a major driving force in Bentley's sales, no time was wasted in race-proving the new design. The first prototype engine reputedly went into the 3-Litre chassis of the 1927 Le Mans practice car and subsequently this same engine was fitted to the first production 4½-Litre chassis for that year's Grand Prix d'Endurance. Driven by Leslie Callingham and Frank Clement, the original 4½-Litre car, nicknamed 'Old Mother Gun', set the fastest lap of 73.41mph. All three team cars were involved in the infamous White House crash, with Sammy Davies' battered 3-Litre struggling on to win. Produced for only four years, just 665 cars were built, all but nine on the 'Long Standard' 10ft10in-wheelbase chassis. As with other quality manufacturers, purchasers of the 4½-Litre model were free to chose their own specifications of body style, coachbuilder and, of course, lighting, instruments and electrical equipment. Delivered in December 1928 and London-registered XV 7620, Michael Hay's authoritative work, 'Bentley: The Vintage Years', records that this car chassis number AB3364, fitted with engine number AB3367 was fitted with four-seat Sports Tourer coachwork by London-based coachbuilder Vanden Plas. According to original Vanden Plas Coachbuilder records, this car was originally fitted with a four-seater Sports Body No. 1530, blue, 11/1928, and Michael Hay, in his book 'Bentley: The Vintage Years' (1997) also states: 'Vanden Plas body 1530'. It is understood to retain this original coachwork today. Painted blue (as original) with blue-painted wire wheels, this stunning original Bentley is presented as a wonderfully mellowed older restoration. The interior is beautiful in brown leather with the wooden dashboard housing a wonderful compliment of Jaeger and Smiths MA gauges. There is a full tonneau cover and hood bag. The Bentley has the added advantage of an overdrive unit (with hidden switch) and, should for any reason the overdrive unit fail, the original propshaft is carried under the nearside running board. The radiator is fitted with a 'Town Cap' and there is no winged 'B' mascot. The engine bay, with bronze 'sloper' SU carburettors, is presented in wonderfully tidy and 'honest' condition and clearly well-maintained. There is an electric fuel pump, but it is stated that the Autovac is still functional and an electric fan is fitted. An absolutely wonderful original 4½, with ultra-desirable original Vanden Plas coachwork, the car ran and drove very well during our recent photoshoot. In the Tanners' ownership, this much-loved 4½ has been toured extensively through France, touring Provence, Champagne, Alsace, Burgundy, Languedoc, Bordeaux, Jura, the Rhône Valley and many, many other areas over the last 30 years. A V5C Registration Certificate is present for the car. Lots 50-61 are subject to Buyer’s Premium at 12.5% plus VAT at 20%