1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre / KM3088 Chassis Information

1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre
LeMans Sport Bobtail
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: KM3088
Engine Num: MF3175
Sold for $6,050,000 at 2012 Gooding & Company.
The Bentley Boys were able to capture five outright victories in seven short years, proving their speed and endurance. Bentley was victories in 1924, but were unable to repeat this success in 1925 and 1926 with their 3 Liter models. Bentley responded by modifying a team car to take a 4 1/2-liter engine. Basically, the car - dubbed 'Old Mother Gun' - was essentially a three-litre team car fitted with a new cylinder block. When Bentley arrived at LeMans in 1927, the new 4.5-litre engine proved fast until the historic Maison Blanche crash. Though two cars were out and the third was badly damaged, Bentley still managed to win the race. A few months later, the new 4 1/2 liter engine was run at the Grand Prix de Paris, which it easily won. This was the first race win for the new 4.5-liter engine.

Bentley intended to create new works cars based on the 4 1/2-liter production chassis. The second new car was chassis number KM3088 (this example) and was given engine number MF3175 and received registration YW 2557. This 'Bobtail' was completed by Vanden Plas in June of 1928 with body number 1480 and was invoiced to Sir Ronald Gunter.

The first two cars produced, YV 7263 and YW 2557, were works specialized production chassis sent to Vanden Plas to receive lightweight LeMans coachwork. The body was created from an ash frame with fabric covering. In the back were a vertical spare tire and a D-shape fuel tank. The package was covered by a rounded aluminum shroud, the result of which earned it its nickname, the 'Bobtail.' The team cars also received the 'eyebrow'-type cycle fenders. They had quick-release caps for water, fuel and oil replenishment, a leather hood strap, a fold-flat front screen, aero-screens, large-diameter gauges, bucket-style seats and cycle fenders. Both cars were finished in the team's standard colors of Napier Green.

There were innumerable modifications that distinguished the works cars from the production cars. The updates to the works cars were done to save weight, improve reliability and performance.

For the 1928 24 Hours of Lemans, YW 2557 was driven by the 1924 LeMans winner Frank Clement and the 1927 LeMans winner Dudley Benjafield. The 'Bobtail' received significant competition from Stutz and Chrysler. Almost immediately, the 'Bobtail' recorded a new lap record at 72.7 mph. The first pit stop was made after three hours. By the evening hours, YW 2557 was running in 4th place. Unfortunately, the car suffered a broken frame. A broken radiator hose resulted a few laps later. Regulations stated that water could only be replenished ever 20 laps. YW 2557 was forced to retire on lap number 71. Old Mother Gun broke its frame just shy of the finish, but was able to limp to victory, driven by Barnato. Birkin drove the no. 3 car into 5th place.

Though the race had been a success, there were certainly room for improvement. Each of the team cars were given new frames with significant chassis strengthening. Birkin's 'Bobtail' was given a different style of fuel tank, a small trunk and a side-mounted spare. Thus, YW 2557 was left as the sole remaining 'Bobtail.'

YW 2557 raced at the inaugural Double Twelve Race at Brooklands on May 10th and 11th of 1929. It was driven by the 1927 Le Mans winner, Sammy Davis, and Gunter and wore no. 6. They were joined by Clement and Cook in YV 7263 and Barnato and Benjafield in the new Speed Six. The Speed Six would retire, although it was leading at the time, averaging in excess of 92 mph. The Clement and Cook 4 1/2-liter Bentley retired a day later, leaving only YW 2557 to battle the Alfa Romeos. Though Alfa Romeo would take the victory, it was a close finish, with the Bentley finished admirably in 2nd.

Four weeks after the endurance race, Bentley returned to LeMans with a five-car team roster, including a singular Speed Six, Old Mother Gun, and the three other 4 1/2-liter team cars (including the Bobtail). The Birkin 4 1/2-liter car had just completed two 24-hour events.

Of the five Bentley's entered, only YV 7263 failed to finish. By the closing hours of the race, the Bentley's were well in the lead. W.O. Bentley ordered the team cars to slow the pace. At the close of the 24 hours, Bentley was in positions 1,2,3 and 4. Benjafield and Baron d'Erlanger had driven YW 2557 to a 3rd place finish.

1929 had been a successful season for Bentley. For the following year, a total of three Speed Sixes had been completed for competition. W.O. favored the Speed Sixes while Birkin favored his personal project, the 'Blower' Bentley.

YW 2557 remained with the team. It was used for practice by Sammy Davis and Clive Gallop at Brooklands. It was retained by Gunter until 1930 when the team car was sold to Lauchlan Rose. Mr. Rose retained the car for three years and during his ownership factory service continued which included the installation of a new D gearbox. Additional service work followed a minor accident in June of 1932.

Rivers Oldmeadow purchased the car in 1933. The car was well used and by 1939, it had over 100,000 miles. In late 1939 or 1940, the car was sold to an unknown individual. It is believed that during World War II, the car suffered a serious engine blow-up, at which time the sump and crankcase were replaced with standard 4 1/2-liter parts. The original engine block, however, was retained.

Shortly after the end of the War, Mr. Rose was able to re-locate the car and re-purchase it once again. It would remain in the Rose family, eventually passing to Lauchlan's son Tom. Mr. Lauchlan Rose treated the car to a restoration in 1964. The Rose family would own the car for roughly 25 years, selling it in 1971 to Bill Lake. 33 years later, it was sold in 2004 after Mr. Lakes passing.

The current owner has treated the car to a complete preservation restoration. It has been given the factory racing sump off of LeMans winner 'Old Mother Gun' and a set of SU Slopers stamped 'KM spare,' the racing team's extra set of carburetors for YV 7263 or YW 2557. It has its period correct fabric covering, Bentley works-specific hardware, components and modifications. There is a proper tool kit and handbook, the original radiator, and original bellypans.

In 2012, the car was offered for sale at Pebble Beach presented by Gooding & Company. The car was estimated to sell for $5,500,000 - $7,500,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $6,050,000 including buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2012

Chassis# KM3088

2017 RM Auctions : Amelia Island
Pre-Auction Estimates :$6,500,000-$7,500,000 
Lot was not sold
2012 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach Auction
Pre-Auction Estimates :$5,500,000-$7,500,000 
Sale Price : $6,050,000

Analysis

Chassis number KM3088 Auction Sales History
2017Pre-Sale Estimates: $6,500,000 - $7,500,000
2012$6,050,000

2017 1
2016 1
2013 2
2012 2
2011 1
2005 1

YearAvg. SaleHigh Sale# of Sales
2017$1,100,000$1,100,0001
2016$852,500$852,5001
2013$1,738,000$2,750,0002
2012$3,640,963$6,050,0002
2011$770,000$770,0001
2005$327,541$327,5411

Recent Sales

(Data based on Model Year 1928 sales)
1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Open Sports Tourer
Chassis#: FT3221
Sold for $1,100,000
  2017 Gooding & Co. : Scottsdale, AZ
 
1928 Bentley 4½-Litre Tourer in the style of Vanden Plas
Chassis#: PM3252
Sold for $852,500
  2016 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island
    
1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Semi-Le Mans Tourer
Chassis#: MF3153
Sold for $2,750,000
  2013 Gooding and Company - The Amelia Island Auction
    
1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre British Flexible Coupe
Chassis#: XR3347
Sold for $726,000
  2013 Gooding and Company - The Scottsdale Auction
    
1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Le Mans Sports Bobtail
Chassis#: KM3088
Sold for $6,050,000
  2012 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach Auction
  
1928 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Tourer
Chassis#: NT3131
Sold for $1,231,925
  2012 Bonhams - Collectors' Motor cars and Automobilia at Goodwood
 
1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Tourer
Chassis#: PM3252
Sold for $770,000
  2011 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach Auctions
    
1928 Bentley 41/2-Litre Tourer
Chassis#: RL3427
Sold for $327,541
  2005 Bonhams - Sports, Competition & Collectors' Motor Cars, F1 Memorabilia, Automobilia & Models
 

No Sale

1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1928 Bentley 4½-Litre Le Mans Sports The Bobtail by Vanden PlasKM30882017 RM Auctions : Amelia Island $6,500,000$7,500,000
1928 Bentley 3/4.5 Litre Vanden Plas Style Le Mans TourerHT16492015 H & H Auctions Imperial War Museum   
1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre Tourer 2013 H & H Auctions The Pavilion Gardens $400,000$470,000
1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Harrison British Flexible CoupeXR33472012 Gooding & Company, Amelia Island, Fl $600,000$800,000

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