1929 Bentley 4½ Litre


1929 Bentley 4½ Litre

1929 Bentley 4½ Litre

In late 1927, Bentley enlarged their 3 Litre model to 4.5 litres and it subsequently dominated endurance racing. Financier and racing driver Woolf Barnato piloted a 4½ Litre to victory at the 1928 24 Hours of Le Mans with co-driver Bernard Rubin.

The 4½ Litre was one of the most successful cars designed by W.O. Bentley and largely produced with the financial support of Woolf Barnato.

Bentley produced the 4½ Litre as a bare chassis, with hood radiator and scuttle to be bodied by an independent coachbuilder. Most were sent to Vanden Plas or Gurney Nutting. Many have since lost their original bodies to replica Vanden Plas Le Mans Tourer-style bodies.

Story by Richard Michael Owen

In Detail

typeLimited Production Car
built atCricklewood, Middlesex , England
predeccesor1921 Bentley 3 Litre
engineInline 4
positionFront, Longitudinal
aspirationNatural
valvetrainSOHC, 4 Valves per Cyl
fuel feed2 SU HVG5 Carburettors
displacement4398 cc / 268.38 in³
bore100 mm / 3.94 in
stroke140 mm / 5.51 in
power82.0 kw / 110 bhp
specific output25.01 bhp per litre
body / frameCoachbuilt Body on Steel Frame
driven wheelsRWD
front brakesDrums
rear brakesDrums
f suspensionSolid Axle w/Leaf Springs
r suspensionLive Axle w/Leaf Springs
wheelbase3200 mm / 126 in
transmission4-Speed Manual

 

 

Auction Sales History

 

 

1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Vanden Plas Tourer NX3467 – did not sell for $1,150,000 Perhaps the most original 4½-Litre in existence. Original engine, gearbox, bodywork, and Connolly leather interior. Formerly owned by Arthur Eldredge and Ed Sutherland. Known history documented by Bentley historian Clare Hay. One of the very best available.
Auction Source: 2014 Arizona by RM Auctions

 

 

 

1928 Bentley 4½ Litre Vanden Plas Semi-Le Mans Tourer MF3153 – sold for $2,750,000
Exceedingly Rare Original-Bodied Example. Boasting Many Original Le Mans-Specifications Components. Exceptional Provenance with Prominent Bentley Owners. Recent and Exacting Restoration by Noted Marque Specialists Graham Moss and Richard Cresswell. 2005 BDC Concours Best of Show
Documented by Bentley Historian Clare Hay. Ideal International Event Entrant. An Important, Highly Regarded, and Desirable Vintage Bentley. One of the Finest Vintage Bentleys Extant.
Auction Source: The 2013 Amelia Island Auction by Gooding & Company

 

1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Harrison British Flexible Coupe XR3347 – sold for $726,000 Exceedingly Rare Matching-Numbers, Original-Bodied Example. The Only Remaining 4 1/2 Litre Harrison Coupe. Exceptional Provenance and Just Three Owners from New. Recent and Exacting Restoration. Shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Ideal International Event Entrant.
Auction Source: The 2013 Scottsdale Auctions by Gooding & Company

 

1928 Bentley 4½ Litre Le Mans Vanden Plas Sports KM3088 – sold for $6,050,000 A Two-Time Factory Le Mans Entry. 2nd Overall at the 1929 Brooklands Double Twelve. 3rd Overall at the 1929 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Only Remaining “Bobtail” 4 1/2 Litre. Exceptional Provenance and Limited Ownership. Recent and Exacting Preservative Restoration. Ideal International Driving and Concours Event Entrant. One of the Greatest Bentleys in Existence.
Auction Source: 2012 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company

 

1929 Bentley 4½ Litre Harrison British Flexible Coupe XR3347 – did not sell for $500,000 Exceedingly Rare Matching-Numbers, Original-Bodied Example. The Only Remaining 4 1/2-Litre Harrison Coupe. Exceptional Provenance and Limited Ownership. Recent and Exacting Restoration. Shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Ideal International Event Entrant. An Important and Desirable Vintage Bentley.
Auction Source: The Amelia Island Auction 2012 by Gooding & Company

 

1930 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre H & H Coachbuilding Tourer Recreation PB3549 ES1101 – sold for $665,500 Coachwork in the Style of Vanden Plas. Event-Proven and Highly Regarded W.O. Bentley. Matching-Numbers Chassis, Engine and Driveline. Extensively Documented. Sensibly Fitted with Desirable Upgrades. An Ideal Entry for International Driving Events.
Auction Source: The Amelia Island Auction 2012 by Gooding & Company

 

1929 Bentley 4½ Litre Vanden Plas Dual Cowl Sports Tourer KL3584 – sold for $2,145,000 Exceedingly Rare, Matching-Numbers, Original-Bodied Example. Exceptional As-New Specifications. Unique and Advanced Vanden Plas Design. Known History from New. Ideal International Event Entrant. An Important and Desirable Vintage Bentley.
Auction Source: 2012 Scottsdale Auction by Gooding & Company

 

1929 Bentley 4½ Litre Harrison Two-Seat Sports DS3568 – did not sell for $950,000 Exceedingly Rare Semi-Le Mans Specification Chassis. Exceptional Period-Competition History. Ideal International Event Entrant. Multiple Award-Winning Example, Including a Class Award at Pebble Beach. Appropriate Bentley Appeal. * An Important Vintage Bentley.
Auction Source: 2011 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company

 

 

1929 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Open Tourer – did not sell for €224,875

The present owner describes his discovery as being a good solid car which was largely complete and had clearly been in storage for some considerable length of time as can be seen from the photographs taken at that time.

With only a new windscreen and a few other minor components needing to be sourced prior to its sympathetic restoration, the finished motor car presented today represents an unmolested example of a most desirable marque. Inspection showed that the engine was in good general order, the magnetos were completely overhauled and the engine and carburetters fully serviced. The seats were completely re-trimmed in dark blue leather, a new set of carpets and a new hood were made, brightwork re-plated, brakes and wiring checked and new tyres fitted.

Today, fresh out of restoration and finished in the very stylish and handsome Oxford Blue this matching numbers 4 ½ Litre Bentley presents very nicely indeed and due to the long length of time hidden away in storage it is in mostly original condition. It is of course also very fresh to the market having been under the same ownership for much of the past 50 years. While a certain amount of recommissioning is to be expected after such long-term storage, the result is sure to be magical – the chance to experience a vintage Bentley so recently roused from a lengthy slumber.

Auction Source: 2008 RM Automobiles of London