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1924 Bentley 3-Litre Short Chassis Speed Model Tourer

From long-term ownership, an original matching numbers 'Red Label' Short Chassis Speed Model with original coachwork by Vanden Plas


Coachwork by. Vanden Plas

Chassis No. 464

Body No. 1026

Engine No. 471

Registration No. XR 3759

+44 (0)1869 244 255


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The Bentley 3-Litre Speed Model Tourer with four-seat touring coachwork by Vanden Plas is regarded by many to be the prettiest of all the vintage sports-touring motorcars produced. The 3-Litre Speed Model was often referred to as the “Red Label” due to the colour of the radiator badge, the longer chassis generally supplied with a blue badge and the hyper-rare super-sports model with a green badge. The Speed Model was, in essence, a development of the earlier TT-model, of which Bentley had made 50 production models for their more sporting and well-healed clients.

Based on Bentley’s standard-short 9’9.5” wheelbase chassis, the Speed Model benefited from a higher compression engine breathing through twin “sloper” carburettors and, mated to the A-type close ratio gearbox, had a significantly improved performance to the standard Bentley 3-Litres both in terms of acceleration and top speed. The shorter wheelbase allowed for the elegant yet sporty design of the coachwork from Vanden Plas, and was basically the same design of body that featured on the works cars that were so successful in the Le Mans 24-Hour races. To this day they remain iconic and a good 3-Litre Speed Model, such as the example offered for sale here, remains one of the most sought after vintage motorcars and rightly so.

One of the plentiful joys of vintage Bentley ownership is that most examples have a good degree of pre-war history recorded in the Works Service Records held at the W.O. Bentley Memorial Foundation and a well-documented history by the worldwide authority on vintage era Bentleys Dr. Clare Hay. Presented for sale here is a highly original example of the iconic Bentley 3-Litre Speed Model with coachwork by Vanden Plas. Chassis no. 464 has a well-documented history, has been in the loving care of one owner for the past twenty years and benefits from a totally rebuilt engine by R.C. Moss Ltd.

Records on file confirm that chassis no. 464 was completed on the 15th March 1924, sold via J. Smith & Co. to Clarence Gingold of St. John’s Wood London and registered with the London number XR 3579. The car was supplied on the 9ft 9½” wheelbase chassis with engine no. 471 and a Vanden Plas Four-Seat Touring body, no. 1026, both of which remain fitted to the chassis to this day. Gingold did not keep ‘464’ for long, presumably selling the car to make way for his second 3-Litre Speed Model (chassis no. AP 312) in 1926 and by late 1925 the car has passed to a C. Roskell of Kensington. Subsequent owners of ‘464’ prior to the outbreak of World War II are as follows:

• V.N. Bell, London – 1927 – 1928
• J. N. Hopwood, London – 1928 – 1929
• Lord Lovelace, Kent – 1929 – 1929
• F. M. Ohrt, Leysin (Switzerland) – 1929 – 1932
• C. Penn – Hughes, Weybridge – 1932 – 1935 (Presumably Clifton Penn-Hughes of Bugatti & Brooklands fame)
• J. Young, Frazerburgh – 1936 – 1937
• J.H. Pitman, Sussex – 1937 onwards

The Works Service Department at Cricklewood was closed in 1939 and thus with most vintage Bentleys the ownership trail can be a little vague during the war years. By 1947 ‘464’ was in Staffordshire with N. Wilson and then in quick succession with R.E. Aickin of Sonning-on-Thames in 1948 and S.R. Lang from Ealing in the same year. In 1962 ownership of the Bentley passed to Michael Hartley of Weston-on-Trent.

The current owner purchased ‘464’ from Sue Hartley, the widow of Michael Hartley, in 1999. Included in the extensive history file offered for sale with the car is a list of works carried out on ‘464’ during the current owner’s tenureship and whilst in the care of Michael Hartley, all supported by a large file of invoices relating to said work. Amore recently (1-20) the original engine was treated to a total rebuild by R.C. Moss which included the fitment of a new crankshaft, connecting rods, and pistons and a new camshaft. Other works included a rebuild of the rear axle and a set of new wheels from Richard Bros.

An original, yet well-maintained example, ‘464’ was awarded with the best Pre-1965 Bentley trophy at the 2016, Concours of Elegance at Windsor Castle. Nonetheless the car is not really a concours example and has been used far more for motoring with the family. Offered for sale from two long periods of private ownership, this much-loved vintage Bentley represents a rare opportunity to acquire a genuine and matching numbers Bentley 3-Litre Speed Model that retains its original sporting coachwork from Vanden Plas. Inspection and test drives both welcomed and encouraged at our Oxfordshire showrooms by appointment only.