1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter Two-Seater Sports / MS3929 Chassis 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
Two-Seater Sports
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: MS3929
Engine #: MS3932
Gearbox #: 7241
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
Two-Seater Sports
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: MS3929
Engine #: MS3932
Gearbox #: 7241
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 :
$4,500,000-$5,500,000 
Sale Price :
$4,015,000

2018 1
2015 1
2013 1
2008 1
2007 1
2003 1

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 $2,666,358
  2018 Bonhams : Goodwood
 
1931 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Two-Seater Sports in the style of Vanden Plas
Chassis#: MS3929
Sold for $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 $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 $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 $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 $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 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

Comparables

Similar sales to the $2,959,757 range.
2014 Ferrari LaFerrari
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1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  
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Chassis#:70100
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Chassis#:00106
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2003 Ferrari Enzo
Chassis#:ZFFCW56A630131240
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1954 Maserati A6 GCS/53 Spyder by Fiandri & Malagoli
Chassis#:2087
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1966 Shelby 427 Cobra 'Semi-Competition'
Chassis#:CSX 3040
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2018 RM Sothebys : Scottsdale, Az.
1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  
1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider by Scaglietti
Chassis#:16783
Sold for $2,983,635
2017 RM Sothebys : Ferrari - Leggenda e Passione
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 by Scaglietti
Chassis#:10147
Sold for $3,025,000
2017 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  
1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Alloy Long-Nose Design by Pininfarina
Chassis#:07927
Sold for $3,080,000
2017 Bonhams : Quail Lodge
1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast
Chassis#:5989 SF
Sold for $2,915,000
2017 Gooding & Co. : Scottsdale, AZ
1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  
1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico by Pininfarina
Chassis#:2841 SA
Sold for $3,080,000
2017 RM Sotheby's : Arizona Auction
1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  
2003 Ferrari Enzo
Chassis#:ZFFCW56A330128800
Sold for $3,000,000
2016 Mecum : Monterey
1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Spider
Chassis#:LML/505
Sold for $3,080,000
2016 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach
1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  
1966 Ford GT40 'P/1057'
Chassis#:P/1057
Sold for $2,900,000
2016 RM Sotheby's : Monterey
1959 Porsche 718 RSK
Chassis#:718-019
Sold for $2,860,000
2016 Gooding & Company : The Amelia Island Auction
1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  
1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder
Chassis#:917/30-004
Sold for $3,000,000
2016 Gooding & Company : The Amelia Island Auction
1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter vehicle thumbnail image  

Vehicle Profiles

Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Liter1926 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: 911
Engine Num: 919
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Liter1926 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: FS3619
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1927 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1927 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: DS 3573
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1927 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: DS 3574
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1927 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: RN3031
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1927 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: ST3015
Engine Num: ST3015
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1927 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: YU7692
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Drophead Coupe
Coachbuilder: Victor Broom
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: HF3177
Engine Num: HF3178 / SL 3054
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 LeMans Sport Bobtail
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: KM3088
Engine Num: MF3175
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Semi-Le Mans Sports Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: MF3153
Engine Num: SM3905
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: PM3252
Engine Num: PM3256
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Harrison
Chassis Num: PM3259
Engine Num: PM3258
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Tourer
Chassis Num: SL3075
Engine Num: SL3071
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Flexible Coupe
Coachbuilder: Harrison
Chassis Num: XR3347
Engine Num: XR3347
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1928 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: YV7263
Engine Num: KM3096
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Sport Touring
Coachbuilder: Harrison
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Salmon & Sons Coupe
Coachbuilder: Salmon & Sons
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Two-Seat Sports
Coachbuilder: Harrison
Chassis Num: DS3568
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: DS3575
Engine Num: DS3572
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: FB3317
Engine Num: FB3320
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Offset Single Seater
Chassis Num: HB3402
Engine Num: SM3901
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: HB3403
Engine Num: SM3902
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: HB3404/R
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Robinson Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: HB3410
Engine Num: HB3412
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: HR3976
Engine Num: HR3976
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: KL3584
Engine Num: KL3584
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Thrupp and Maberly
Chassis Num: MR3990
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: NX3451
Engine Num: NX3455 - XF3507
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: NX3452
Engine Num: NX3454
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Open Sports Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: NX3463
Engine Num: NX3469
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Chassis Num: NX3466
Engine Num: AD3655
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Chassis Num: PL3497
Engine Num: FT3223
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Chassis Num: RC2209
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: RL3427
Engine Num: RL3429
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: RL3448
Engine Num: MR3377
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Chassis Num: SM 3903
Engine Num: SM 3907
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: SM3917
Engine Num: MS3933
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Chassis Num: TX3246
Engine Num: PM3275
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5 Litre1929 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: XR3332
Engine Num: XR3337
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5-liter1930 Drophead Coupe
Coachbuilder: Gurney Nutting
Chassis Num: GK 6661
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5-liter1930 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: PB3549
Engine Num: PB3539
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5-liter1930 Saloon
Coachbuilder: Maythorne & Sons
Chassis Num: XF3520
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Sports Tourer
Coachbuilder: Thrupp and Maberly
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Sports Tourer
Coachbuilder: Thrupp and Maberly
Chassis Num: MR 3390
Engine Num: MR 3393
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Sports Tourer
Coachbuilder: Thrupp and Maberly
Chassis Num: MS 3928
Engine Num: SM 3921
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Supercharged Birkin Le Mans Replica
Chassis Num: MS 3942
Engine Num: MS 3950
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Le Mans Boattail
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: MS 3944
Engine Num: MS 3941
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Two-Seater Sports
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: MS3929
Engine Num: MS3932
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Four Seater Sports
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: MS3932
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Boattail by Gurney Nutting
Coachbuilder: Gurney Nutting
Chassis Num: SM3916
Engine Num: SM 3922
Chassis information for the Bentley 4.5-Liter1931 Tourer
Coachbuilder: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: SM3917
Engine Num: MS3933


Vehicle information, history, and specifications from concept to production.

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