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1928 Bentley 4½-Litre Sports Two-Seater & Dickey

In single family ownership for over fifty years


Coachwork by. Vanden Plas

Chassis No. RN 3049

Body No. 1445

Engine No. RN 3045

Registration No. TY 4015

+44 (0)1869 244 255


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Produced between 1927 and 1930, the Bentley 4½-litre proved itself at Le Mans with outright victory in the 1928 24-Hour endurance epic and with further successes at Brooklands. It essentially employed a stronger version of the “long chassis” 10ft 10” wheelbase chassis of the 3-litre Bentley, combined with a much more powerful 4½-litre engine. The performance was incredibly impressive with over 90mph possible in standard form and 120mph achievable in full racing trim.

There is perhaps no better indicator to the merits of a particular model of motorcar than single long-term ownership. The fine Bentley 4½-Litre Tourer offered for sale here, for the first time since 1967, demonstrates this point perfectly.  Like all Bentleys of the vintage period, the rolling chassis was given over to a variety of coachbuilders to be bodied to the particular specifications of each owner. In the case of the 4½-litre, as with the 3-Litre, it was Vanden Plas, Bentley’s coachbuilder of choice, who created the most popular designs. The most recognisable of their designs was of course, the standard four-seat open tourer, but other designs were available and we are delighted to present for sale a highly original vintage Bentley that retains its original sports two-seater and dickey coachwork by Vanden Plas.

Two-seater designs produced for the 10’10” wheelbase chassis varied in their quality. Many looked heavy and almost Edwardian rather than vintage in their appearance a feature which was often exacerbated by the addition of heavy wings. Whoever penned this particular design at Vanden Plas (sketch 335) knew his/her business and the car retains the sporty and rakish appearance that one hopes for in a vintage Bentley, without any compromise on practicality or ease of use.

As with most vintage Bentleys, copy factory records are contained within the history file and give the best account of the history of the car up until 1939 when the works service department was closed. Chassis No. RN 3049 was constructed on the standard 10’10” chassis (all but 11 of the 661-production chassis were) and was fitted with engine no. RN 3045. In February 1928, the Bentley was sold via Frank Scott Ltd. to its first owner, F. Gregory of Gosforth, Northumberland and the car first registered TY 4015.

Various works were carried out by Frank Scott Ltd. under guarantee and in 1932 ownership of ‘TY 4015’ passed to J.A. Don Wauchope of Kensington. The car was sold three years later and remained in West London with Ivor Campbell and then L. Clowes before heading north, in 1939, to C. Wallis of Messrs Ambrose, Wallis & Sons – a sales and servicing business in Sheffield.

In 1948 ‘TY 4015’ was registered again with the Bentley Drivers Club and subsequent owners are listed as follows:

  • 1948 – 1949 – D.H. Lee Smith
  • 1949 – 1954 – Sqn. Leader J.G.G. Moore
  • 1954 – 1963 – M.W. Hutton
  • 1963 – 1964 – W. S. Lake
  • 1964 – 1964 – Poncia
  • 1964 – 1967 – Dr. R.J. Parker
  • 1967 onwards D.J.F. Dutton

From 1967 onwards this original and stylish “4½” has been a firm family favourite, forming part of a small collection of vintage and classic motor cars. The Bentley has been enjoyed, just as it should be, covering many miles to and from B.D.C. events including a number of continental forays to Le Mans and Angouleme. In the early 1980s the engine “threw a rod” and the original crankcase and cylinder block were damaged. Both go with the car and with the wonders of modern technology could perhaps be repaired and refitted, but at the time it made more economical sense to rebuild the engine with a new replacement crankcase and cylinder block with all new internals and ‘’TY 4015’ still runs with this engine to date.

Aside from general mechanical maintenance, ‘TY 4015’ has never “suffered” an unnecessary restoration and neither has it been converted, like so many, to “Le Mans” specification. To this end this original vintage Bentley retains its original coachwork and numbered floorboards as well as a good deal of what appears to be the original upholstery – the front seats having been re-upholstered at some stage. Blue paint can be found underneath the green paint which is presumably the original paint as denoted in the copy Vanden Plas order sheet for the car. ‘TY 4015’ also features in both Vanden Plas Coachbuilders by Brian Smith and Bentley – The Vintage Years by Dr. Clare Hay (3rd Ed. Vol. 2 Page 633) and a full historical report has been commissioned by the latter and will be made available to interested parties upon completion.

A fine example of sporting Vanden Plas coachwork on the 4½ chassis, TY 4015 is offered for sale for the first time in over fifty years and will hopefully provide the new owner with many memories going forward. ‘TY 4015’ is available for immediate inspection at our showrooms by appointment only.