1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre Semi-Le Mans Sports Tourer / MF3153 Chassis Information

1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre photograph

1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre photograph

1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre photograph

1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre photograph

1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre photograph

1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre photograph

1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre photograph

1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre photograph

1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre photograph

1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre photograph

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 Litre1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre
Semi-Le Mans Sports Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: MF3153
Engine Num: SM3905
Sold for $2,750,000 at 2013 Gooding & Company.
In just seven years, Bentley achieved five outright victories at the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Gerald Bevan and his son Anthony were part of the English motorsports scene, early collectors of motorcars, and friends with Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin. Antony drove a number of Bentleys, including Birkin's own works 4.5 Litre as his entry to the 1931 24 Hours of Le Mans.

During the years surrounding Bentley Motors' sale to Rolls-Royce, Birkin and Mike Couper began a service center at Birkin's racing workshop. During this period, Birkin sold his Number 3 Blower (YU3250) and his Works 4.5 Litre (YV7263) to the Bevans. The cars would remain with the Bevans for a number of years. Along with the two factory team cars, the Beavans also purchased a production 4 1/2 Litre (chassis MF3153). The car was originally intended for export to Jose Shepherd & Bell of Argentina. It was given a Vanden Plas Sports Four-Seater (body number 1457). The body was given a windscreen featuring extended irons, which swept forward along the metal-paneled scuttle. This feature was known to have been performed on a number of 3 Litres and 4 1/2 Litres destined for Argentina. The remainder of the body was finished with Weymann fabric.

Many of the cars delivered to Jose Shepherd & Bell were destined for racing by their Argentinean clientele. This example, however, and two other 4 1/2 Litres ordered by Jose Shepherd & Bell in 1928 were returned to the United Kingdom a little over a year later. The cars received some minor servicing and were then sold as new, with guarantees.

Chassis MF3153 was next purchased by Gerald Bevan and, by association, his son Anthony Bevan. Upon receiving the car, it was significantly upgraded. With the help of the factory, and Tim Birkin, and the Birkin and Couper racing and service workshop, the 4 1/2 Litre was fitted with numerous Le Mans-specifications features. It was given a stone guard affixed to the radiator and a quick-release radiator cap, as was standard for team cars. A large-diameter rev counter was fitted to the dash. It was also given a Le Mans-type petrol tank with quick-release cap. The Le Mans tank required the relocation of the rear-mounted spare wheel to the side of the car. It is also believed that the fenders were changed to the cycle type now seen on the car. One other significant upgrade was the magnesium, or Elektron, blower crankcase, SM3905. Furthermore, the 4 1/2 Litre was fitted with a magneto turret out of Bernard Rubin's own 4 1/2 Litre (HM3187), which was rebuilt as the first 'Blower' Bentley. Having originally been equipped with 'Sloper' SU Carburetors and other late-production components, including the aluminum sump, MF3153 became the ultimate specification 4 /2 Litre (un-supercharged).

After the upgrades were completed, the Bevan's new tourer had every bit of the look and feel of a proper LeMans team car. It is believed that Bevan went on to race the car at Brooklands in 1931 in the Warwick Junior Long Handicap and the Second Easter Mountain Speed Handicap.

In September of 193, the 4 1/2 Litre joined a fleet of two other Vintage Bentleys purchased by Sir Guy Domville Baronet, a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and a renowned bridge player.

In 1932, the Bentley found a new owner in Mr. L. Edwards. During Mr. Edwards's ownership, work was undertaken by McKenzie Motors, including the replacement of the gearbox. Mr. Edwards retained the car until William Francis Forbes-Sempill purchased the 4 1/2 Litre later that same year.

After the War, the Bentley passed to Terry Breen in 1946. Mr. Breen and his yard in North London became legendary among Bentley enthusiasts who were looking to acquire spares of complete automobiles. Mr. Breen recognized the special nature of MF3153 and kept it as his own. In Mr. Breen's care, the car saw frequent sporting use, including participation in the 1954 and 1957 Anglo-American Rally. During this time, Mr. Breen had the gearbox replaced with a proper D-Type unit.

After nearly two decades of ownership, Mr. Breen parted with MF3153, and he listed the 4 1/2 Litre for sale in the April 1965 issue of Motorsport. It was later purchased by Mr. J. Elvins, marking the start of a 15-year stewardship. The Bentley subsequently passed to Mr. G.R. Crosthwaite for a number of years before Roland Jones purchased the car. Shortly thereafter, it was sold to Mr. M. Leake, who eventually sold it to Richard Saunders, the former president of the Bentley Drivers Club and owner of several significant vintage Bentleys. Mr. Jones had felt he made a mistake in selling the car, he later pursued the car and bought it back in 2002. His intent was to have the car restored to a level worthy of the car's quality. Richard Cresswell at VBE Engineering undertook the mechanical restoration, while the coachwork and finish was handled by Graham Moss. Tim Houlding was retained for his expert advice on the project. In 2005, the work was completed and it handily won Best of Show at the annual Bentley Driver's Club Concours. A short time after this showing, the Semi-Le Mans Bentley found a place in a private German collection where it was stabled with some of the greatest purebred pre-war sports cars.

In 2011, after purchasing a factory team car, MF3153 was sold to a US collector. Today, the car remains in exceptionally correct order, retaining its major original components. The chassis is properly stamped in both locations, as is the front axle and the steering box. Both sides of the original hood are stamped with the chassis number as well. The engine number, SM3905, is properly stamped on the crankcase. The correct vanden Plas body number, 1457, can be found stamped in the body's ash frame as expected. The Bentley is accompanied by a tool kit with many original pieces and an original 4 1/2 Litre owner's handbook.

The 4398cc single overhead cam four-cylinder engine has twin SU 'Sloper' carburetors and produces an estimated 130 horsepower. There is a four-speed non-synchromesh D-Type gearbox and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2013

Chassis# MF3153

2013 Gooding and Company - The Amelia Island Auction
Pre-Auction Estimates :$2,000,000-$2,500,000 
Sale Price : $2,750,000

Analysis

Chassis number MF3153 Auction Sales History
2013$2,750,000

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 4.5 Litre image  1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  
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 4.5 Litre image  1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  
1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre British Flexible Coupe
Chassis#: XR3347
Sold for $726,000
  2013 Gooding and Company - The Scottsdale Auction
1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  
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 4.5 Litre image  
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 4.5 Litre image  1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  
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 TourerNT31372018 Bonhams : Goodwood   
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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