The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394
Lot 421
The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey
Registration no. KP 7913 Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394
£ 400,000 - 450,000
US$ 520,000 - 580,000

Lot Details
The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394 The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394 The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394 The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394 The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394 The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394 The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394 The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394 The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394 The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394 The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394 The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394 The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394 The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning,1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey  Chassis no. HB3405 Engine no. MR3394
The Bentley Drivers Club main annual concours-winning
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with Dickey
Coachwork by Martin Walter

Registration no. KP 7913
Chassis no. HB3405
Engine no. MR3394
Gearbox no. 6576

Footnotes

  • W O Bentley proudly debuted the new 3-litre car bearing his name on Stand 126 at the 1919 Olympia Motor Exhibition, the prototype engine having fired up for the first time just a few weeks earlier. In only mildly developed form, this was the model that was to become a legend in motor racing history and which, with its leather-strapped bonnet, classical radiator design and British Racing Green livery has become the archetypal vintage sports car.

    Early success in the 1922 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, when Bentleys finished second, fourth and fifth to take the Team Prize, led to the introduction of the TT Replica (later known as the Speed Model). However, by the middle of the decade the 3-Litre's competitiveness was on the wane and this, together with the fact that too many customers had been tempted to fit unsuitably heavy coachwork to the excellent 3-Litre chassis rather than accept the expense and complexity of Bentley's 6½-litre 'Silent Six', led to the introduction of the '4½'.

    The new 4½-Litre model effectively employed the chassis, transmission and brakes of the 3-Litre, combined with an engine that was in essence two-thirds of the six-cylinder 6½-litre unit. Thus the new four-cylinder motor retained the six's 100x140mm bore/stroke and Bentley's familiar four-valves-per-cylinder fixed-'head architecture, but reverted to the front-end vertical camshaft drive of the 3-Litre. Bentley Motors lost no time in race-proving its new car. It is believed that the first prototype engine went into the 3-Litre chassis of the 1927 Le Mans practice car. Subsequently this same engine was fitted to the first production 4½-Litre chassis for that year's Grand Prix d'Endurance at the Sarthe circuit. The original 4½-Litre car, nicknamed by the team 'Old Mother Gun' and driven by Frank Clement and Leslie Callingham, promptly set the fastest race lap of 73.41mph before being eliminated in the infamous 'White House Crash' multiple pile-up.

    The 4½-Litre was produced for four years, all but nine of the 665 cars made being built on the 3-Litre's 'Long Standard', 10' 10"-wheelbase chassis. Purchasers of the 4½-Litre model were, in common with those of all vintage-period Bentleys, free to specify their preferences from a very considerable range of mechanical and electrical equipment, in addition to whatever body style and coachbuilder might be required.

    Michael Hay's authoritative work, Bentley, The Vintage Years, records that the car offered here - chassis number 'HB3405' - was sold new in July 1929 fitted with coupé coachwork by Martin Walter Ltd. Based in Folkestone, Kent, Martin Walter was an established motor dealer that had diversified into coachbuilding in 1916, specialising in the provision of bodies for chassis of the highest quality including those of Daimler, Talbot, Lanchester, Vauxhall, Rolls-Royce, Hispano Suiza, Lagonda and, of course, Bentley. The car's first owner was Folkestone resident Dr P E Kendall. Erected on the 'Long Standard' chassis, 'HB3405' left the Cricklewood factory fitted with engine number 'MR3394' and C-type gearbox '6576', both of which it retains. The registration number was 'KP 7913' from new.

    The next owner was Clive Morris of Hanover Square (from June 1930) who seems to have kept the Bentley until 1936 when it became the property of W Fox of the Guards Club, London W1. According to the factory Service Record the car had an accident in July 1931 when two rear springs and a rear axle banjo were fitted and the rear half of the frame reconditioned. In September 1933 the Bentley had another accident, which must have been more serious as the chassis frame was straightened, the front axle bed reconditioned, and a reconditioned radiator and steering wheel fitted. It was noted at the same time that all the brakes were relined!

    Post-war owners include D E Havinden of London SW1 (in 1953); A Esilman of Exmouth, Devon from 1957 to 1959; and A Holman of Bristol from 1959 to 1989. From May 1989 the owner was G Swann of London, who kept the Bentley until at least 1994. Subsequently the car went to the USA, its ownership in that country being covered by an article published in American Auto Plus magazine (October 4th 2002 edition).

    While in the United States 'HB3405' underwent extensive restoration, commencing in June 2000 when McDonald Vintage Restorations of Canby, Oregon completed various bodywork and other repairs including replacement of all the glass and making a new dashboard. In addition, the hood was replaced and the battery relocated to the dickey floor and fitted with a cut-off switch.

    Between March and August 2007 the engine was thoroughly overhauled and rebuilt around a new Neil Davies-supplied cylinder block by Roy Magnuson of Kirkland. An overdrive unit was fitted to the transmission at the same time and the wheel hubs were replaced in 2008, while the suspension was checked over and the brakes renewed immediately prior to the car's participation in the 2009 Copperstate 1000 Road Rally in Arizona. More recently (in 2011) the engine was serviced and the magnetos overhauled.

    A detailed breakdown of restoration and maintenance, carried out while the car was resident in the USA, forms part of the condition report on file (inspection recommended). It should be noted that this report states that no damage was found when the chassis frame was professionally inspected. The history file also contains sundry bills, MoT certificates, registration documents, etc.

    The Bentley Drivers Club's main annual concours winner in 2010, 'HB3405' is an original car retaining its original coachwork that possesses a wonderful patina commensurate with careful and responsible ownership. It can be found featured within the pages of Coachwork on Vintage Bentleys by Nick Walker, Bentley Heritage by Richard Bird, where it is described as "supremely elegant" and Bentley, The Vintage Years by Michael Hay.
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