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Bentley History

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre

Chassis number : HB3410

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Sold for $472,500 at 2019 Bonhams : Amelia Island.
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 to 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.

Sold for $472,500 at 2019 Bonhams : Amelia Island.
This 1929 Bentley 4½ Liter Sports Tourer left the factory and delivered new to Mr. G.G. Law of Renfrewshire in August 1929. It wore a Weyman flexible saloon body by Arthur Mulliner. The car remained with Mr. Law until February of 1932 when it entered the car of Dr. W.K. Chalmers of Argyllshire. Two years later it was sold to Mr. G. Dawson in London. From there, its history is not known until March of 1951, when it was owned by G.K. Stratton. He had the car registered as 'Rebuilt Bentley.' In August of 1951, it was advertised for sale in Motor Sport. It had grey paint and wore a Vanden Plas body sourced from another Bentley 4.5-liter.

During the 1950s, it was owned by J.M. Hancox who sold it to J.E. Crossman in 1955 and it is believed to have remained with him until 1973. While in either Mr. Hancox or Mr. Crossman's care, the car was involved in an accident. The damage was extensive and required a rebuild using another frame and front axle. The parts were sourced from another 4.5 saloon, chassis number AB3352.

After 1973, the car entered the care of C.J. Teal, and then to Mr. J.A. Murch in 1977. An extensive restoration soon followed. At the time, Mr. Murch also owned chassis ST3024. Since ST3024 had the stronger engine, it was swapped with engine HB3412 from chassis HB3410. At this time, the car was also fitted with its current Vanden Plas style body by Tony Robinson.

The car was in Germany during the 1980s. In 1990 it was sold to Greg Johnson of California. Dr. Johnson used the car extensively and had it fitted with a LeMans 3.3:1 axle ratio and electrical fuel pumps.

In 2003, it was sold Mr. Rodger Morrison who retained it for two years before selling it to James Stickley. Mr. Stickley displayed the car at the Amelia Island Concours and won a national award with the car at the RROC national meet in 2007. A year later, it went to the United Kingdom after passing through Stanley Mann, and was sold to Hugh Apthorp, who kept the car until December of 2010, when it entered its current owner's care.


By Daniel Vaughan | May 2019

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2019 Bonhams : Amelia Island

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $525,000-USD $575,000 
Sale Price :
USD $472,500

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Bentley 4.5 Litre

(Data based on Model Year 1929 sales)
1929 Bentley 4½ Liter Tourer
Chassis#: FB 3320
Sold for USD$604,500
  2022 Bonhams : The Greenwich Auction
 
1929 Bentley 4½ LITER TO SUPERCHARGED SPECIFICATIONS REPLICA LE MANS STYLE COACHWORK
Chassis#: AB 3669
Sold for USD$863,000
  2021 Bonhams : Quail Lodge
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Open Four-Seater Sports by Vanden Plas
Chassis#: RL3427
Sold for USD$1,105,000
  2021 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  
1929 Bentley 4½ Liter Sports Tourer
Chassis#: HB3410
Sold for USD$472,500
  2019 Bonhams : Amelia Island
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre 'Le Mans' Style Tourer
Chassis#: NX3457
Sold for USD$1,113,274
  2018 H & H Auction - Imperial War Museum, Duxford
 
1929 Bentley 4½ Liter Sports Tourer Coachwork by Vanden Plas
Chassis#: RL3427
Sold for USD$1,435,000
  2018 Bonhams : Quail Lodge
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  
1929 BENTLEY 4½-LITRE TOURER
Chassis#: DS3551
Sold for USD$451,385
  2016 Bonhams - Goodwood Members' Meeting
 
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Tourer
Chassis#: MR 3399
Sold for USD$1,007,788
  2015 Bonhams : Bond Street Motor Car Sale
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Sports Saloon
Chassis#: PB3527
Sold for USD$1,073,078
  2015 Bonhams : The Beaulieu Sale
 
1929 Bentley 4.5 litre Open Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis#: FB3322
Sold for USD$510,000
  2015 Historics at Brookland
 
1929 Bentley Supercharged 4 ½ Litre Original two-seater
Sold for USD$1,045,428
  2013 Coys Auction - A236 True Greats
 
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Open Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis#: vC57S119374
Sold for USD$785,996
  2013 RM Auction - London
 
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Tourer
Chassis#: FB3324
Sold for USD$505,510
  2013 Bonhams - The Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale
 
1929 Bentley 4 ½ litre Vanden Plas style Tourer
Chassis#: RL3441
Sold for USD$465,271
  2012 Bonhams - Collectors' Motor cars and Automobilia at Goodwood
 
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Four-Seat Tourer
Chassis#: NX 3452
Sold for USD$740,096
  2012 Bonhams - Collectors' Motor cars and Automobilia at Goodwood
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  
1929-31 4½-Litre Supercharged 'Blower' Bentley Single-Seater
Chassis#: HB 3402
Sold for USD$7,906,745
  2012 Bonhams - Collectors' Motor cars and Automobilia at Goodwood
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  
1929 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre VdP Tourer Model by Sapor Modelltechnik
Sold for USD$31,050
  2012 RM - Milhous Collection, Fla
 
1929 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Dual Cowl Sports Tourer
Chassis#: KL3584
Sold for USD$2,145,000
  2012 Gooding and Company - The Scottsdale Auction
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  
1929 Bentley 4 1/2-Litre Open Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis#: FB3317
Sold for USD$671,000
  2011 RM Auctions at Monterey
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre image  
1929 Bentley 4½-Liter Supercharged Birkin Team Car Specification Tourer
Chassis#: DS 3569
Sold for USD$722,000
  2009 Bonhams - Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club
 

Bentley 4.5 Litres That Failed To Sell At Auction

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Tourer by Vanden PlasSM39032021 RM Sothebys : London $3,800,000$4,200,000
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Tourer 2019 Bonhams : Goodwood Revival $480,000$600,000
1929 Bentley 4 ½ Liter Sports TourerFB33172019 Bonhams : Quail Lodge Auction $700,000$850,000
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre TourerRL34282019 Bonhams : Goodwood Members Meeting $600,000$800,000
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Tourer Recreation by Graham MossRC22092018 RM Sothebys : Monterey $550,000$750,000
1929 Bentley 4.5 Liter Le Mans Replica Fabric TourerPL 34962017 Bonhams : Philadelphia Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum $600,000$700,000
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Tourer by CadoganDS35702015 RM Sotheby's London Auction   
1929 BENTLEY 4½-LITRE SPORTS BLUEBELLRL34392014 The Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale $480,000$560,000
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Tourer by Vanden PlasNX34672014 RM Auctions Automobiles of Arizona$1,150,000  
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Open Tourer by Vanden PlasFB33172013 RM Auctions VILLA ERBA$490,000  
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre TourerFB33242013 Bonhams Collectors' Motor Cars and Automobilia $350,000$400,000
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé with DickeyHB34052011 Bonhams The December Sale $400,000$450,000
1929 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Two-Seat SportsDS35682011 Gooding and Company Pebble Beach Auctions $1,000,000$1,400,000
1929 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Open TourerDS35612008 Automobiles of London$175,000$275,000$325,000
1929 BENTLEY 4 1/2 LITER DROPHEAD COUPE 2003 Bonhams MOTOR CARS $260,000$300,000

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1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre Profiles

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Robinson Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: HB3410
Engine #: HB3412
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Coupe
Coachwork: Salmon & Sons
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Chassis #: SM 3903
Engine #: SM 3907
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Chassis #: NX3466
Engine #: AD3655
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: HB3403
Engine #: SM3902
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: HB3404/R
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: HR3976
Engine #: HR3976
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Offset Single Seater
Designer: Reid Railton
Chassis #: HB3402
Engine #: SM3901
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Coachwork: Thrupp and Maberly
Chassis #: MR3990
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: FB3317
Engine #: FB3320
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Two-Seat Sports
Coachwork: Harrison
Chassis #: DS3568
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Sport Touring
Coachwork: Harrison
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: RL3427
Engine #: RL3429
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Chassis #: RC2209
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Chassis #: TX3246
Engine #: PM3275
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: DS3575
Engine #: DS3572
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: NX3451
Engine #: NX3455 - XF3507
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: NX3452
Engine #: NX3454
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Open Sports Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: NX3463
Engine #: NX3469
1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Chassis #: AB 3669