Coachwork by. Tony Robinson in the style of Vanden Plas
Chassis No. KL 3952
Engine No. AD 3672
Registration No. UW 5805
+44 (0)1869 244 255
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. 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.
Sporting and yet sturdy the 4½-Litre Bentley, aside from proving itself on track in period, provides the perfect platform for vintage endurance rallying today and the example offered for sale here, Chassis No. KL 3592 is a well-proven rally weapon and a veteran of numerous international historic rallies and race meetings.
The combination of Dr. Clare Hay’s authoritative work, Bentley The Vintage Years(Third Edition) and the copy works service record give the early history of this particular Bentley 4½-Litre. Chassis no. KL 3592, was completed by the works on 17thNovember 1929, registered UW 5805, and fitted with weyman saloon coachwork by Lancefield. The first owner is noted as A Crowther, of North End Road, W1, London who purchased the car through Henleys Ltd. The first change of ownership was in 1934 and the car remained in London before moving to the Midlands in 1937. During the 1930s the original saloon body was removed from the car and replaced with a modernised open touring body by Jenson, a common practice during this period. During the 1960s the 30s body was replaced by a replica of the seminal four-seat touring design by Vanden Plas – again a common practice in the period – in this instance the body was built by Tony Robinson. During the early 1960s the original engine was replaced with engine no. AD 3672, a later 1930 4½-Litre engine from chassis no. AD 3673.
The extensive history file accompanying the car gives the ownership history from new and documents an extensive series of works carried out on the car from the late 1980s to the present day, including two engine rebuilds. This may sound like an excessive amount of work but from 1986 until 2013, this much loved 4½-Litre was owned by one Michael Waterhouse of Cheshire and both he and ‘KL 3592’ competed in an enormous amount of racing and rallying events all over the world. A summary of the works he and subsequent owners have carried out is included in the file together with the long list of events in which he participated. So impressive is the list of events in which UW 5805 has partaken that we have re-produced this list below:
A well-travelled and campaigned Bentley indeed! Perhaps fittingly the subsequent owners of ‘KL 3592’ have both been keen rally enthusiasts, hence the use of the car on the famous Flying Scotsman rally and more recently on the Classic Safari rally. The current owner has spared no expense in having the Bentley fully prepared for international rallying with both William Medcalf and The Kingsbury Racing Shop. A full list of works carried out by both companies is included in the files, and, we are told by the owner, totals c.£120,000 of expenditure.
Such is the extent of the history files, that we have simply not been able to cover all of the detailed information provided in this text, hence the viewing of the files in person is recommended where possible. Suffice to say that this fine sporting Bentley is totally in keeping with the spirit of the Bentley Boys and the Bentley Drivers Club. It is a hugely loved and well-travelled motorcar that has proven its worth and reliability on countless occasions. Fitted with Le Mans type cycle wings, a long rang Le Mans tank and a fold flat screen it is good looking and tough to boot. Specific rallying enhancements fitted by the current owner include a double-Monit, spot lights and tyre pressure monitoring system. Inspection of both the car and the history file is most welcome by appointment. A superb vintage Bentley ready for racing and international rallying this season.
We would like to thank Gerard Brown for the kind use of his superb photographs of ‘KL 3952’ competing on the 2017 Classic Safari Challenge.