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1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter Two-Seater Sports / MS3929 Vehicle Information

1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter photograph

1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter photograph

1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter photograph

1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter photograph

1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter photograph

1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter photograph

1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter
Sold for $4,015,000 at 2015 RM Sotheby's : Monterey.
Tim Birkin would be convinced the 4 1/2 –liter supercharged engine was the answer to Bentley's growing deficiency compared to the threatening competition coming from Italy. He would push ahead with his plans going head-to-head, essentially, with W.O. Bentley's purity of displacement. The result would be one of the most memorable Bentleys of the late 1920s and early 1930s, but certainly not the most successful.

W.O. disagreed with Birkin, but the company's namesake had little to know authority given the financial straits the company was going through. Hello Tim Birkin and supercharging. Aided by Dorothy Paget, a wealthy financier who had been a part of the wildly-successful Supermarine seaplanes, the supercharged Bentley would go ahead.

The costs would be great and only a total of 50 examples would ever be built. This number could have been greater had the example enjoyed success on the racetrack, exactly where the car was designed to dominate. It would be remarkable that the car would end up as revered as it is today.

One of those fifty examples, MS3929 would be a fine representation of what Birkin believed, and what should have been. Still bearing its original Vanden Plas bodywork, the car would be a virtual time capsule being the last W.O. Bentley produced to bear a Vanden Plas body. Despite its age, MS3929 remains highly original right down to its original chassis, engine, D-Type gearbox and supercharger. To look upon it is to step back in time when Bentley enjoyed near unrivaled success at Le Mans and financial turmoil was poised to bring it all crashing down.

Completed in 1931, amazingly, the car would remain unsold for a couple of years. The financial fallout had come home to roost and this chassis paid for it. However, some time would pass and the car would be finally finished being fitted with a four-passenger touring body designed by Vanden Plas.

R.S. Mead would seemingly purchase the car in 1933 and would turn around and sell it to C.E. Robinson the following year. The car would be sold to W.O. Bentley's brother, H.M. a couple of years later. Not long after, the car would pass on to J.M. Campbell. Campbell's ownership would be brief and soon the car would find itself on a ship heading to Cape Town, South Africa.

The Bentley would remain in South America through World War II and would finally return to England a few years after the end of the war. The car would change hands a couple more times before making the voyage across the Atlantic to the United States where it would be joined with its new owner J.D. Clark.

The car would continue to be a popular buy and would change hands between C.M. Crowhurst, E.S. Nisbet and John Webb de Campi. Mr. de Campi would end up being one of the longest tenured owners and he would take great consideration of the Bentley's originality. He would carefully restore the car, even with its Vanden Plas body.

Mr. de Campi would part with the car in 1979 and the car would then return to England. The car's current owner would come to own the car in 1987 and, in 1990, would have the car freshly restored. Ulf Smith, of Sweden, would be called upon to make a new body and fenders for the car. Although this would be a deviation from the originality of the car, the original Vanden Plas body remains with the car to this very day and can be found in its own crate.

Unlike many Bentley's of that era, in which racing would take a heavy toll on a particular car's originality, MS3929 has remained highly original and has been verified through original surviving factory documents and other historical pieces of information. All told, this would have to be one of the most complete, and, therefore, sought-after examples of Birkin's vision.

Provenance assured, originality verified and place in Bentley's history to never be forgotten, the 1931 Bentley 4 1/2 –liter Supercharged Two-Seater Sports, with its original Vanden Plas body, would be an absolute highlight of RM Sotheby's record-breaking 2015 Monterey auction. As a result of the car's history and purity the Bentley would garner a sale price of some $4,015,000, inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Jeremy McMullen
Sold for $4,015,000 at 2015 RM Sotheby's : Monterey.
This Bentley was completed in 1931 but would remain unsold for two years, due to Bentley Motors' receivership, before being finally bodied with a new four-passenger tourer body, number 1829, by Vanden Plas in 1933. It was delivered, with its original supercharger, to A. Ansell and registered as JB 1850. (It is believed that the supercharger that it left the factory is still with the car.) This was the last W.O. Bentley to be given the Vanden Plas coachwork.

The car was purchased as early as 1933 by R. S. Mead, and the by April 1934, it was acquired by C.E. Robinson, who purchased the car through the showroom of W.O. Bentley's brother, H.M. The car was sold back to H.M. Bentley by Mr. Robinson; next passing in 1936 to J.M. Campbell before being shipped out of the UK to Cape Town, South Africa, in late 1937 by the next owner, Dr. T.W. Stephens. During World War II, the car remained in South Africa, being returned by the U.K. by a friend of Dr. Stephens, believed to have been M.C.C. Haycraft.

The Bentley was exported to the United States in 1957 by J.D. Clark. In 1962, it was sold to C.M. Crowhurst, then to E.S. Nisbet, and then in February 1969 to John Webb de Campi. During his 10 year ownership, Mr. de Campi restored the Bentley with its original Vanden Plas bodywork.

In 1979 the Bentley returned to the United Kingdom and was acquired in 1987 by its current owner. IN 1990, a fresh restoration was undertaken. During the work, Ulf Smith, of Sweden, built the present body and fenders for the car. The body is a copy fo the lightweight fabric two-seater sports body built by Vanden Plas for the famous #1 Bentley, chassis number HB3402. The original Vanden Plas body has been preserved and is currently with the car today.


By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2015



2015 RM Sotheby's : Monterey

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $4,500,000-USD $5,500,000 
Sale Price :
USD $4,015,000

1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter Auction Sales

Recent Sales

(Data based on Model Year 1931 sales)
1931 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Tourer
Chassis#: SM 3925
Sold for USD$2,666,358
  2018 Bonhams : Goodwood
 
1931 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Two-Seater Sports in the style of Vanden Plas
Chassis#: MS3929
Sold for USD$4,015,000
  2015 RM Sotheby's : Monterey
1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter image  1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter image  
1931 Bentley 4½ Liter Supercharged Le Mans
Chassis#: MS 3944
Sold for USD$4,647,500
  2013 Bonhams - Quail Lodge Auction
1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter image  1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter image  
1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter Blower
Chassis#: MS 3928
Sold for USD$1,760,000
  2008 Gooding & Company
1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter image  1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter image  
1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter Blower
Sold for USD$4,510,000
  2007 Gooding & Company
1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter image  1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter image  
1931 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Le Mans Replica
Chassis#: XT3636
Sold for USD$159,683
  2003 Bonhams - Goodwood Revival
 

Vehicles That Failed To Sell

1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1931 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Supercharged Blower Sports TourerMS39282021 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach Concours Auction $3,000,000$4,000,000
1931 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged TourerMS39382021 RM Sothebys : Paris   
1931 Bentley 4½ Liter Supercharged Birkin Le Mans ReplicaMS 39422019 Bonhams : Quail Lodge Auction $2,750,000$3,750,000
1931 Bentley 4.5 Litre Blower - SM3925SM39252014 Silverstone : Salon Prive   
1931 BENTLEY 4½-LITRE SUPERCHARGED TOURERXT36352014 The Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale $750,000$850,000
1931 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre SC Blower Sports 2/3 Seater BoattailSM39162012 Gooding and Company Pebble Beach Auction $8,000,000$10,000,000
1931 Bentley 4½ Liter ‘Birkin Style Tourer with original Supercharger 2009 Bonhams Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club $900,000$1,000,000

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1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  

Bentley 4.5-Liter Vehicle Profiles
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: 911
Engine Num: 919
Model Year: 1926
Profile and Auction History
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: FS3619
Model Year: 1926
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Model Year: 1927

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: DS 3573
Model Year: 1927
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: DS 3574
Model Year: 1927
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: RN3031
Model Year: 1927

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: ST3015
Engine Num: ST3015
Model Year: 1927
Profile and Auction History
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: YU7692
Model Year: 1927
Profile
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Model Year: 1928
Profile

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Model Year: 1928
Profile
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Model Year: 1928
Drophead Coupe
Bentley 4.5-Liter Drophead Coupe

Coachbuilder: Victor Broom
Model Year: 1928
Profile

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: HF3177
Engine Num: HF3178 / SL 3054
Model Year: 1928
Profile
LeMans Sport Bobtail
Bentley 4.5-Liter LeMans Sport Bobtail

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: KM3088
Engine Num: MF3175
Model Year: 1928
Profile and Auction History
Semi-Le Mans Sports Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Semi-Le Mans Sports Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: MF3153
Engine Num: SM3905
Model Year: 1928
Profile and Auction History

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: PM3252
Engine Num: PM3256
Model Year: 1928
Profile and Auction History
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Harrison
Chassis Num: PM3259
Engine Num: PM3258
Model Year: 1928
Profile
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Weymann
Chassis Num: RN3043
Engine Num: RN3044
Model Year: 1928
Profile and Auction History

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Chassis Num: SL3075
Engine Num: SL3071
Model Year: 1928
Profile
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Gurney Nutting
Chassis Num: TX3234
Engine Num: TX3233
Model Year: 1928
Profile
Flexible Coupe
Bentley 4.5-Liter Flexible Coupe

Coachbuilder: Harrison
Chassis Num: XR3347
Engine Num: XR3347
Model Year: 1928
Profile and Auction History

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: XR3348
Engine Num: UK 3276
Model Year: 1928
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: YV7263
Engine Num: KM3096
Model Year: 1928
Profile
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Model Year: 1929

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Model Year: 1929
Sport Touring
Bentley 4.5-Liter Sport Touring

Coachbuilder: Harrison
Model Year: 1929
Profile
Coupe
Bentley 4.5-Liter Coupe

Coachbuilder: Salmon & Sons
Model Year: 1929
Profile

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Model Year: 1929
Profile
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Chassis Num: AB 3669
Model Year: 1929
Profile and Auction History
Two-Seat Sports
Bentley 4.5-Liter Two-Seat Sports

Coachbuilder: Harrison
Chassis Num: DS3568
Model Year: 1929
Profile and Auction History

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: DS3575
Engine Num: DS3572
Model Year: 1929
Profile
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: FB3317
Engine Num: FB3320
Model Year: 1929
Profile and Auction History
Offset Single Seater
Bentley 4.5-Liter Offset Single Seater

Chassis Num: HB3402
Engine Num: SM3901
Model Year: 1929
Profile and Auction History

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: HB3403
Engine Num: SM3902
Model Year: 1929
Profile
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: HB3404/R
Model Year: 1929
Profile
Robinson Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Robinson Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: HB3410
Engine Num: HB3412
Model Year: 1929
Profile and Auction History

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: HR3976
Engine Num: HR3976
Model Year: 1929
Profile
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: KL3584
Engine Num: KL3584
Model Year: 1929
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Thrupp and Maberly
Chassis Num: MR3990
Model Year: 1929
Profile

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: NX3451
Engine Num: NX3455 - XF3507
Model Year: 1929
Profile and Auction History
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: NX3452
Engine Num: NX3454
Model Year: 1929
Profile and Auction History
Open Sports Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Open Sports Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: NX3463
Engine Num: NX3469
Model Year: 1929
Profile

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Chassis Num: NX3466
Engine Num: AD3655
Model Year: 1929
Profile
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Chassis Num: PL3497
Engine Num: FT3223
Model Year: 1929
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Chassis Num: RC2209
Model Year: 1929
Profile and Auction History

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: RL3427
Engine Num: RL3429
Model Year: 1929
Profile and Auction History
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: RL3448
Engine Num: MR3377
Model Year: 1929
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Chassis Num: SM 3903
Engine Num: SM 3907
Model Year: 1929
Profile

Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: SM3917
Engine Num: MS3933
Model Year: 1929
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Chassis Num: TX3246
Engine Num: PM3275
Model Year: 1929
Profile
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: XR3332
Engine Num: XR3337
Model Year: 1929

Drophead Coupe
Bentley 4.5-Liter Drophead Coupe

Coachbuilder: Gurney Nutting
Chassis Num: GK 6661
Model Year: 1930
Profile
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: PB3549
Engine Num: PB3539
Model Year: 1930
Profile and Auction History
Saloon
Bentley 4.5-Liter Saloon

Coachbuilder: Maythorne & Sons
Chassis Num: XF3520
Model Year: 1930
Profile

Sports Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Sports Tourer

Coachbuilder: Thrupp and Maberly
Model Year: 1931
Sports Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Sports Tourer

Coachbuilder: Thrupp and Maberly
Chassis Num: MR 3390
Engine Num: MR 3393
Model Year: 1931
Profile
Sports Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Sports Tourer

Coachbuilder: Thrupp and Maberly
Chassis Num: MS 3928
Engine Num: SM 3921
Model Year: 1931
Profile and Auction History

Supercharged Birkin Le Mans Replica
Bentley 4.5-Liter Supercharged Birkin Le Mans Replica

Chassis Num: MS 3942
Engine Num: MS 3950
Model Year: 1931
Profile and Auction History
Le Mans Boattail
Bentley 4.5-Liter Le Mans Boattail

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: MS 3944
Engine Num: MS 3941
Model Year: 1931
Profile and Auction History
Two-Seater Sports
Bentley 4.5-Liter Two-Seater Sports

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: MS3929
Engine Num: MS3932
Model Year: 1931
Profile and Auction History

Four Seater Sports
Bentley 4.5-Liter Four Seater Sports

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: MS3932
Model Year: 1931
Profile
Boattail by Gurney Nutting
Bentley 4.5-Liter Boattail by Gurney Nutting

Coachbuilder: Gurney Nutting
Chassis Num: SM3916
Engine Num: SM 3922
Model Year: 1931
Profile and Auction History
Tourer
Bentley 4.5-Liter Tourer

Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: SM3917
Engine Num: MS3933
Model Year: 1931


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