By the mid-1920s, Bentley realized the need for a new four-cylinder model. The 3 Litre model - though a Le Mans winner - was suffering due increasingly heavy bodies. With the 6.5 Liter in production, Bentley sought to combine the light chassis of the 3 Liter with the extra power of a larger motor. The result was basically a chassis from a 3 Litre with a four-cylinder version of the 6.5 litre engine.
The new 4.5 Liter was immediately put into competition. The Bentley Boys quickly amassed Le Mans and Grand Prix finishes and victories. Though the Speed Six was a true champion at Le Mans for Bentley, it was Birkin's admiration and respect for the 4.5 Litre that led to the development of the Blower Bentley.
Apart from its racing duties, the production 4.5 Litre was also a luxury car fitted with saloon coachwork. They gained a reputation for being a superb handling Bentley with an exceptional power-to-weight ratio.
The body of this car is a Tony Robinson aluminum skin Vanden Plas 4-seat-tourer with a 6 and 1/2 liter bonnet (long hood). This car started life as a sedan in 1929 and was quickly converted to a Vanded Plas tourer in the 30s. The car has been an open tourer most of its life.
The car is powered by a water-cooled, single-overhead-cam, 4-cylinder, with 4 valves per cylinder, 4,500 cc (4.5-liter) engine, developing 110 horsepower coupled to a 4-speed manual transmission. The 3,630-pound car has a top speed of 94 miles per hour. The chassis consists of channel-steel, front and rear suspension by semi-elliptic leaf springs, and 4-wheel drum brakes.
The car's mascot, 'Icarus,' is a rare commission by W.O. Bentley and sculpted by Gordon Crosby. The car underwent a complete restoration from the bare chassis to the Hobson Telegauge gas gauge that actually works.
Production amounted to a total of 733 cars of all body styles. Fifty-four cars were equipped with the famous supercharged engine, 'Blower Bentleys,' built by the race driver Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin as a private venture - against W.O. Bentley's wishes.