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1928 Bentley 4½-litre Open Tourer by Vanden Plas


Coachwork by. Vanden Plas Ltd.

Chassis No. HF 3194

Body No. 1448

Engine No. HF 3197

Registration No. UC 3847

+44 (0)1869 244 255


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The Bentley 4½-litre Open Tourer by Vanden Plas typifies the elegance and excitement of vintage sports touring cars and thus we are proud to present this original example for sale here.

Copies of the Bentley works records on file show that Chassis No. HF 3194 was fitted with Engine No. HF 3197, a C-Type gearbox (Number 6292) and given over to Vanden Plas to be fitted with “4 seater Sports” coachwork to Bentley’s own order (Body No. 1448). The first owner was John Thomas Kenward Eggar of Downing College Cambridge, and the car first registered UC 3847, a London registration number. According to the records, some minor work was carried out by the works during Edgar’s ownership. In 1930 the Bentley was sold to a Captain J. de Pret of Gaddesby Hall in Leicestershire before passing to a Mrs. Cross in 1932.

In 1933 ‘UC 3847’ was purchased by a Mr. A.B. Cadman of Mayo House in Lancaster who had an accident in the car. The records show “Rec. chassis frame fitted.” For a number of years it was thought that Chassis No. HF 3194 had been replaced rather than reconditioned by the works. On the 29th September 2014 Dr. Clare Hay, the authority on vintage Bentleys, inspected the car. In her report, that accompanies the car, she states that “As now the chassis is to original specification with the front crossmember clearly numbered HF3194….” It would appear then that the original chassis frame was reconditioned rather than replaced. Dr. Hay goes on to say that “It is possible that the front axle was changed at this date, as the beam now fitted is a correct light pattern numbered 820 (this isn’t from chassis 820, it is from a 3 Litre chassis around the 1100 mark – front axle number 817 was fitted to chassis 1094; the discrepancy is because Bentleys started numbering 3 Litre axles from 1 again when front wheel brakes with a new axle design were introduced in 1923). It is also possible that the steering column was changed, as this unnumbered.”

The engine was overhauled in 1933/34 before the last pre-war change of ownership in 1939 to a Captain C.H. Windrum of Kent in 1938. The Service Records all end in 1939/40 when Rolls-Royce shut down the old Bentley Service Department and thus, as with most vintage Bentleys, the exact ownership history of chassis No. HF 3194 is not known until it reappears in the Bentley Drivers Club records.

On a recent visit to the W.O. Bentley Memorial Foundation, and with the kind assistance of Alan Bodfish, the post war records of chassis No. HF 3194 have been obtained and added to the file. ‘UC 3847’ first reappeared in a Character Cars advert in MotorSport in 1952 and was purchased by L.T. Shoosmith of Worthing before passing to John Emsley of Bradford in July of the same year (noted as a standard car). In 1954 Emsley sold ‘UC 3847’ to brothers, B. R. Eastick and R.D. Eastick, well-known to the old car movement today, by which time it appears to have been overhauled, judging by a photograph of it in 1954 on file.

The Easticks kept ‘UC 3847’ car until 1961 when it passed to P.M. Mackie. It was then sold to A.E. Tailby of Kettering in April 1966. Tailby did not keep the car long and in January of 1967 sold it to A.W. Garrard of Northampton. Garrard kept the car for over nine years when it was sold to Gregg Morris of Strathclyde in May 1976. Morris’s ownership of ‘UC 3847’ lasted for over 30 years during which time both he and Grace Morris drove it on numerous tours. Copies of Bentley Drivers Club Bulletins on file feature ‘UC 3847’ on various tours and events.

Purchased by the current owner some two and a half years ago, the engine had been overhauled and fitted with new crank and rods, but otherwise remained in much loved, but well used condition. The decision was taken to treat ‘UC 3847’ its first major overhaul since the early 1950s. The lion share of the mechanical and assembly work was entrusted to Blakeney Motorsport in Hertfordshire, while the coachwork and correct Vanden Plas pattern upholstery were subcontracted to suitable specialists.

Completed just a few months ago, some test mileage has been carried out. When the engine had been overhauled during Morris’s ownership it featured a different camshaft and single branch exhaust manifold system. Given the scarcity of original matching numbers Vanden Plas 4½-Litre Bentleys, the current owner preferred to return the modifications of the engine to standard and a correct standard camshaft and exhaust manifold has recently been fitted by The Kingsbury Racing Shop, based here at Bicester Heritage. As well as this the minor ‘de-bugging’ that is generally required after any extensive restoration has been carried out.

Chassis No. HF 3194 is offered for sale with a detailed history file containing: A detailed report by Dr. Clare Hay, copies of the factory service records and Vanden Plas build sheet, copy of the buff log book, numerous past MOTs and tax discs, invoices and photographs pertaining to the engine overhaul and replacement of crank and rods, sundry bills and invoices, copies of Bentley Drivers Club Bulletin reports featuring the car and a number of photographs of the car at events during the 1950s.

This Bentley, chassis No. HF 3194, retains nearly all of its original numbered mechanical parts and most importantly Vanden Plas Touring body, numbered 1448 to the floorboards and spare wheel carrier. Much loved and toured over the years this fine Bentley is ready for its new owner to enjoy, safe in the knowledge that they will own one of the more original examples of this iconic British sports cars.