Coachwork by. Maynell Phillips in the style of Vanden Plas
Chassis No. UK 3287
Engine No. UK 3290
Registration No. XV 7418
+44 (0)1869 244 255
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 1955, demonstrates this point perfectly.
In general terms, the 4½-litre Bentley is such an impressive motorcar 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 of Bentleys (including the 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 between 1927 and 1930, the Bentley 4½-litre proved itself at Le Mans with outright victory in the 1928 24 Hour endurance epic as well as 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.
Factory service records, on file, indicate that this much-loved example, chassis no. UK 3287 was completed by the Cricklewood works in November of 1928, fitted with engine no. UK 3290 and sent to Vanden Plas to be fitted with four-seat touring coachwork (body no. 1515.) It was sold new via agents Henleys Ltd. to Mr. Lorne Currie and registered XV 7418 in January 1929. Photographs, also on file, show Mr. Currie with his wife, both leaving their wedding and on honeymoon and are a superb record of the car when new. The factory service records give the history of the car until 1939. Lorne Currie sold ‘XV 7418’ in 1930 and apparently purchased a new Aston Martin to replace the Bentley. The buff log-books on file give the ownership history from 1936 onwards and remarkably contains the ownership history during The War so often missing from the history of vintage Bentleys. According to the log-books the ownership trail reads as:
1936 – Eustace Geoffrey Cook – Wimbledon
1941 – Ronald Herbert Whincup – Southall
1945 – Major Joseph William Edward Fellows
‘XV 7418’ was purchased from a Dr. Malcolm Brydson of Crews by the current owner in around 1955. The car was in rather poor condition and the original chassis was sent to Rubery Owen to be re-rivitted and zinc coated to protect it from any corrosion. The Vanden Plas Four Seat Body (No. 1515) had been modified to 2/3-seater form with a large fuel tank behind the seats for racing and was also in poor condition. The original body was beyond repair and so a replica Vanden Plas body was supplied by Maynell Phillips to correct specification. The mechanical work was largely handed over to Neville Farqhuar, a well-known and respected engineer who had also looked after a number of motorcars in the collection of one. F. Mazjub. The Bentley now formed part of a private collection that has included at various times, Vauxhall 30-98s, vintage Sunbeams, a Derby Bentley as well as classic Aston Martins and was the owner’s daily transport for many years. An active member of both the Vintage Sports Car Club and Bentley Drivers Club, the current owner and his wife have used the 41/2 Bentley extensively on numerous events and tours worldwide. The car has travelled as far afield as New Zealand and the USA and has also been raced on several occasions including at The Rotorua Raceway in New Zealand. According to the owner’s wife the car came dead last in every race in which it competed! When interviewed about the history of the car it was suggested to the owner that his racing failures must have been due to being pitted against the usual troop of much modified and “hot-rodded” Bentleys, to which he rather charmingly and humbly responded “oh no, it wasn’t that at all, I’m just not very good at it!” The car has also been a regular feature at the Scottish Wit Weekends organised by The Bentley Driver’s Club.
‘XV 7418’ has seen continual use and regular maintenance as every vintage Bentley should. All of the numbered mechanical components are original to the car including, even, the starting handle. The body is to the correct style and specification of the body originally fitted to the chassis. It is sold only due to the owner’s advancing years. The history file offered with the car demonstrates the ease of ownership and the touring potential these wonderful cars provide and comes with a selection of photographs documenting the car’s history from new, right up until the present day. The file also contains copies of the factory service records and original buff-log books. This much-loved vintage Bentley is, of course, eligible for a plethora of club and company ran events and would be a welcome addition to the many international tours and rallies that have been organised to celebrate the centenary of Bentley Motors in 2019. Crucially, it is offered for sale for the first time since 1955 and represents an increasingly rare opportunity to acquire an original and correct example from such extensive and long-term ownership with all the wonderful memories and experiences that will forever go with it.