1928 Bentley 4½-Litre Sports Tourer
Coachwork by Vanden Plas
Registration Number: XV 7620
Chassis Number: AB3364
Engine Number: AB3367
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 100x140mm bore & 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’ 10' 10"-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.