<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603

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Lot 137
1930 Bentley 4½ Liter Sports Tourer
Coachwork in the style of Vanden Plas

US$ 525,000 - 675,000
£ 410,000 - 520,000
Amended
1930 Bentley 4½ Liter Sports Tourer
Coachwork in the style of Vanden Plas

Chassis no. FS3601
Engine no. FS3603 (see text)

4,398cc SOHC Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
4 Overhead Valves Per Cylinder
2 SU Carburetors
4-Speed 'C Type' Manual Transmission
Front and Rear Leaf Spring Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes with Servo Assist

*Classic example of the original W.O. Bentley
*Recent mechanical restoration and engine rebuild
*Eligible for many tours and rallies
*Offered with copies of factory records


THE BENTLEY 4 ½ LITER

W.O. Bentley proudly debuted the new 3-liter 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 which 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 Liter'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 liter chassis rather than accept the expense and complexity of Bentley's 6½ liter 'Silent Six', led to the introduction of the '4½'.

The new 4½ liter model effectively employed the chassis, transmission and brakes of the 3 liter, combined with an engine that was in essence two-thirds of the six-cylinder 6½-liter 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 liter. Bentley Motors lost no time in race-proving its new car. The new model also retained that "bloody thump", as noted Bentley owner Walter Foden referred to it, a characteristic that enables one to clearly identify a 4-cylinder Bentley from many miles away. Bentley Motors wasted no time in proving the new car in competition. It is believed that the first prototype engine went into the 3-liter chassis of the 1927 Le Mans practice car. Subsequently this same engine was fitted to the first production 4½-liter chassis for that year's Grand Prix d'Endurance at the Circuit de la Sarthe. The original 4½-liter 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 new engine quickly proved its worth, and it managed an outright win at Le Mans in 1928.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

Offered here, is a classic example of the iconic 4 ½ Liter Bentley. According to Stanley Sedgwick's excellent reference on the Pre-War Bentleys, this home market car, chassis no. FS3601, was first delivered in August 1930 to William Findlay. It was originally equipped with a Weymann Saloon body by Vanden Plas, and registered GH5449, a number plate it proudly displays to this day. Little is known of the car's early history beyond the factory records; however, it is understood that the current open four-seat tourer body was fitted by one of the masters of Vintage Bentley restorations, Tony Townshend of Whittonditch Works. In recent years, this beautiful Bentley enjoyed long-term, single-family ownership both in England and the West Coast of the United States where it was used regularly by an active member of the Bentley Driver's Club.

Today it presents in lovely condition, with a light and pleasant patina that suits a Vintage Bentley so well. The classic dark green paintwork is in very good order on the wings, bonnet, and chassis. The painted body parts were restored in 2011 in England, while the car was being serviced by Elmdown Engineering in Berks, England. The Weymann-style fabric body is in beautiful condition, showing a mild patina that is in keeping with this being a well-loved and regularly exercised example. It is detailed with exterior tool boxes, folding windscreen, dual Brooklands aeroscreens, a Brooklands style fan-tip exhaust and beautiful nickel-plated Karl Zeiss headlamps. Weather equipment includes a vinyl folding hood and two-piece tonneau covers for front and rear cockpits. Turn signals have been added for additional safety while touring, and are easily removable should the next owner so choose.

The four-passenger cabin is trimmed in complementing green leather, which has taken on a careworn charm over the years of regular use. The leather seats are in fine condition, showing appropriate levels of character. Likewise, the green carpets are in good order, with some slight wear in places. Original instrumentation graces the wood dash, which also includes original switchgear and controls.

In 2017, the engine, was rebuilt and the car was inspected from end to end, with over $160,000 in receipts documenting the mechanical work. The work was performed by a marque specialist in California, and the exhaustive rebuild includes a new valvetrain and pistons. In concurrence with the engine rebuild, the clutch was rebuilt and relined with improved friction materials. Prior to installation, the engine was detailed, and it presents in beautifully today. It retains important period correct components including brass-body S.U. carburetors and dual ML ER4 magnetos. The gearbox is an appropriate C-Type unit which has been paired with a Laycock de Normanville overdrive unit, transforming this Bentley into an incredibly capable high-speed tourer. The recent owner has enjoyed the car regularly, ensuring it is reliable and enjoyable for Bentley Club touring and events. It is an absolute joy to drive, with the prodigious torque and refinement expected of a W.O. era Bentley, along with the additional comfort and cruising ability provided by the overdrive unit.

This is a fantastic opportunity to acquire a dialed-in, tour-proven Cricklewood Bentley that benefits from long-term ownership and cost-exclusive care. The iconic style of the open four-seat coachwork and pleasing, broken-in character makes it a fabulous choice for regular enjoyment in BDC tours or other motoring events worldwide.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, the title for this vehicle will be in transit.
Contacts
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
<b>1930 Bentley 4&#189; Liter Sports Tourer</b><br />Chassis no. FS3601<br />Engine no. FS3603
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