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1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Open Tourer


Coachwork by. Vanden Plas

Chassis No. PL3498

Body No. 1595

Engine No. PL3498

Registration No. UV 7378

+44 (0)1869 244 255


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The 4½-litre Bentley is such an impressive motor car in every respect that it is difficult to describe its qualities in just a few words. The Late George Daniels, famed watchmaker, noted collector of fine vintage cars and the owner of a string Bentleys  (including the Ex-Birkin Single-Seater Blower record car) perhaps best summarized their qualities when he commented, “To me they represent the best in motoring. They have speed, reliability and room for people and luggage. A 70 year old 4½-Litre will cruise effortlessly at 80mph for thousands of miles without any attention other than servicing…”

Produced between1927 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. 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 design. The Vanden Plas Tourer was an elegant open four-seat touring body of lightweight construction that perhaps best utilized the performance the chassis and engine design offered, whilst remaining practical for day to day use.

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. PL 3498 was fitted with Engine No. PL 3498, a C-Type gearbox (Number 6648) and given over to Vanden Plas to be fitted with “4 seater Sports” coachwork to Bentley’s own order. The body (No. 1595) was completed in July 1929.

The first owner was D.D. Winterbottom and the car first registered UV 7378 on the 21stAugust 1929.

Recent research carried out with the kind assistance of Alan Bodfish at the W.O. Bentley Memorial Foundation gives a near complete ownership history of Chassis No. PL 3498 from new which reads as follows:

  • 1929 – 1931 D.D. Winterbottom
  • 1931 – 1932 R.J.H. Morgan
  • 1932 – 1935 Hon. R.G.J. Jervis
  • 1935 – 1938 G. Morton (Bentley factory records end)
  • 1948 – 1951 D.G. & W.F. Dixon
  • 1951 – 1953 J. Nuttall
  • 1953 – 1957 R.C.Wray
  • 1957 – 1970 R.C.T. Fishwick

(Toured Europe extensively – photographs on file)

  • 1970 – 1999 – B. Spollon

(Former VSCC President and ERA racer)

  • 1999 – present – Current owner

(Bentley collector and racer)

Since its acquisition from Bruce Spollon in 1999 this highly original Bentley has been campaigned sparingly at Vintage Sports Car Club and Bentley Drivers Club events and used for numerous family outings.

This much loved and well-toured Bentley is offered for sale here in largely original condition and is offered only due to the ill health of its current custodian. Recent inspection and photography of the numbers stamped on the car (Please contact Robert Glover Limited for a copy of these photographs) show that Chassis No. PL 3498 retains all of its major mechanical components fitted by the factory in 1929 including: Engine, front axle, gearbox, rear axle (both nose-piece and banjo), and original steering box. The bonnet is stamped with the chassis number on both sides and the original Vanden Plas body still retains the numbers (1595) stamped into the floorboards in two separate places. Some of the upholstery also appears to be the original. It has been maintained but never been totally restored.

The Bentley 4½-Litre Open Tourer with Coachwork by Vanden Plas is a quite simply a motoring icon and thus one of the most sought after cars of the vintage era. Opportunities to purchase such cars, that are largely unrestored, still retain all of their major mechanical components from the factory and their original Vanden Plas coachwork, are few and far between. Given some much deserved love and attention this Bentley can be lifted into the highest echelons of the Bentley collecting world and thus will be welcomed by Concours events and international tours alike. These events aside, it would, as George Daniels so correctly put it, provide its new owner with thousands of miles of effortless 80mph cruising without any attention other than servicing. Inspection of this historic motoring icon is welcomed and recommended.

N.B. Research into the history of this car is ongoing. Further information and photographs might become available. Please contact us for more details.