Image credits: © Bentley.

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre

In 1919 W.O. Bentley's company, the Bentley Motors Limited, began from humble beginning in a mews garage off Baker Street in London. Over the years that followed, it would achieve fame for their fast touring cars, and ability to compete with the best of American and European sports cars. They dominated at LeMans in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929, and 1930.

At the 1919 Olympia Motor Exhibition, W.O. Bentley debuted the new 3-liter car. This model, with its leather strapped bonnet, British Racing Green livery, and classical radiator design, would become legendary in motor racing history. Bentley finished second, fourth, and fifth in the 1922 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy earning the company the Team Prize. This monumental accomplished spawned the TT Replica, later to become known as the Speed Model.

By the mid-1920s, the competition was catching up to the performance of the 3-Liter. Additionally the coachwork on many road-going vehicles had become large, luxurious, and heavy. Bentley offered the 6½-litre 'Silent Six', but for many of the customers it was too expensive. This led to the introduction of the '4½', which effectively used the transmission, brakes, and chassis of the 3-liter, with the engine that was in essence two-thirds of the six-cylinder 6½-litre unit.

The new 4½-Litre model had a four-cylinder motor that retained the six's 100mm broke and 140mm stroke and Bentley's traditional four-vales-per-cylinder fixed-head arrangement. The front-end vertical camshaft drive of the 3-Liter was adapted. It is believed that the prototype engine was installed into the 3-Liter chassis of the 1927 LeMans practice car. That same engine was later installed in the first production 4½-Litre chassis which raced at that year's Grand Prix d'Endurance at the Sarthe circuit. The team nicknamed the car 'Old Mother Gun' and driving duties were entrusts to Frank Clement and Leslie Callingham, who set the fastest race lap of 73.41 mph. Sadly, their day ended prematurely due to the infamous 'White House Crash' multiple pile-up.

The Bentley 4½-Litre, offered to the public in late-1927, was produced for four years with 662 (other sources state 665) examples produced. All but eleven examples were built on the 3-Litre's 'Long Standard', 130-inch wheelbase chassis.

Bentley offered a Plethora of mechanical and electrical equipment to satisfy the needs and wishes of the buyers. All Bentley's were bodied by intendent coachbuilders. The operational chassis consisted of a radiator, firewall, and hood panels. They were road-tested on public highways prior to being sent for its coachwork. Approximately 120 coachbuilders, most of whom were British, supplied bodies for the Bentleys. Vanden Plas provided 669 bodies from 1922 through 1931. Vanden Plans and Bentley's relationship began in 1922 and by 1924, they bodied 84 Bentleys. Vanden Plas leased a portion of the premises to Bentley in 1925 as a service department.

Bentley's were produced between 1919 and 1931 at Cricklewood. The 'Derby Bentleys' were produced by Rolls-Royce after their purchase of the company out of receivership


by Daniel Vaughan | May 2019

Related Reading : Bentley 4½ Litre History

The Bentley 4 12 liter came into existence to fill a void left by the 3-liter and the 6.5-liter variants. The 3-liter suffered from underperformance while the 6.5-liter was unsafe for the roads. The 6.5-liter was powerful, and with poor road-conditions often caused tires to fail quickly. The solution was the Bentley 4.5-liter a vehicle that had enough power to carry the vehicle down the road at....
Continue Reading >>

1929 Vehicle Profiles

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Robinson Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: HB3410
Engine Num: HB3412

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 ....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: HB3403
Engine Num: SM3902

This car is one of two supercharged Blower Bentleys built by Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin to race at LeMans in 1930. Today the car is almost exactly as it was when driven by Birkin as he played his part in ensuring Bentley's fifth victory in the 24 Hour ra....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Two-Seat Sports
Coachwork: Harrison

Chassis Num: DS3568

The new 4.5-liter Bentley arrived on the scene in late-1927 following the prototype's debut at that year's LeMans race, where it set a new lap record. It was the successor to the 3-liter using features of the original 4-cylinder engine as well as som....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

This Bentley 4.5 Litre Vanden Plas Tourer was first delivered to Hubert Mason with body number 1615 by the Vanden Plas works in June 1929. It was later owned by the great Bentley collector and author, Johnnie Green. When acquired by the present owner....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: FB3317
Engine Num: FB3320

This Open Tourer by Vanden Plas has never been converted to Le Mans replica status. It wears its body, chassis, engine and registration which it was born. It was delivered in January of 1929 from the Bentley Motors, Ltd. Cricklewood, England factory ....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Thrupp and Maberly

Chassis Num: MR3990

This particular car is one of a very small number of vintage Bentleys that have survived with their original open four-seater coachwork intact. Chassis MR3390 was delivered to Thrupp & Maberly, one of the oldest English coachbuilders who excellence h....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Offset Single Seater
Designer: Reid Railton

Chassis Num: HB3402
Engine Num: SM3901

Reid Railton designed this offset single seater for its owner, Bentley Boy Tim Birkin. The engine was modified to cope with the stress of the supercharger. This Blower Bentley recorded its first victory at its first race at Brooklands. The next targe....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: HR3976
Engine Num: HR3976

This 'Birkin Blower 4' is the second of the pair of Blower Bentleys entered by the Dorothy Paget and Tim Birkin team at LeMans in 1930. Driven by Dr. Dudley Benjafield and Giulio Ramponi the car expired after 144 laps. This tendency for the Blower Be....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: HB3404/R

YU3250 is one of the most famous registration numbers in Bentley history. This car is the subject of some of the most collectable model cars in many different scales and can be found in many children's car collections - and those of their fathers! Al....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer

Chassis Num: NX3466
Engine Num: AD3655

This 1929 Bentley 4.5-Liter LeMans Tourer carries chassis number NX3466. It was brought to the 2007 Monterey Historics where it participated in the Group 1A 'Pre-1939 Sports, Touring Cars' race in Laguna Seca.....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Salmon & Sons Coupe
Coachwork: Salmon & Sons

This 1929 Bentley, 2-seater, drophead coupe retains its original coachwork by Salmons & Sons of Newport-Pagnell in England who has produced coaches from the early 1800s. The present owner purchased the car from the Milligen Collection and brought it....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

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 ho....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer

Chassis Num: SM 3903
Engine Num: SM 3907

Chassis number SM 3903 was first registered on October 21st 1929 as UW 3761, the engine number being entered in the log book as SM 3907. It was owned originally by the factory and sent straight away to the Olympia Motor Show. After the show the fac....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Sport Touring
Coachwork: Harrison

In late 1927, Bentley added the 4.5-Litre model to its successful 3 Litre, and the new car dominated endurance racing. Woolf Barnato and Bernard Rubin drove a 4.5-Litre to victory at LeMans in 1928, the first of three wins by Barnato in the 4.5-Litre....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: RL3427
Engine Num: RL3429

W.O. Bentley introduced his Bentley 3-liter on Stand 126 at the Olympia Motor Exhibition in 1919. In 1922, Bentley finished in second, fourth and fifth place at the Isle of Mans Tourist Trophy, earning them the Team Prize. This led to the introductio....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer

Chassis Num: RC2209

This authentic 4½-Litre 'Blower' Bentley wears a later, period-style fabric tourer body, in similar fashion to the Vanden Plas style tourers of the 1920s. The work was performed by Graham Moss, of R.C. Moss in Melchbourne, Bedford. Original component....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer

Chassis Num: TX3246
Engine Num: PM3275

This famous Bentley 4.5 Litre, known by its registration number YW5758, is one of the most successful racing Bentleys ever built. 'YW' was driven by its first owner, Humphrey Cook, at almost all of the British sports car races during 1928, and then, ....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: DS3575
Engine Num: DS3572

This 4.5 Litre Vanden Plas Tourer was once owned by author and Bentley guru Johnnie Green, who was a personal friend of W.O. Bentley and a founding member of the Bentley Drivers Club in 1936. He purchased the car in 1985 from its previous owner, who ....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: NX3451
Engine Num: NX3455 - XF3507

In 1929, William Berkley Scott ordered this Le Mans-specification 4.5 Litre Bentley to race at Brooklands and beyond. A few specially prepared Bentleys were built exclusively for the Works Racing Team and a few favored customers. In total just eight ....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: NX3452
Engine Num: NX3454

The Maharajah of Bhavnagar became possibly the youngest Bentley owner in the world when, aged just 17, he ordered this 4.5 Litre Tourer through the Bentley dealership Jack Withers & Company in Osnaburgh Street, London. The motor car was built with a ....[continue reading]

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre vehicle information

Open Sports Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: NX3463
Engine Num: NX3469

This Short Chassis Vanden Plas Sports Tourer is one of nine short-chassis 4.5 Litre cars made to special order. It was ordered for Mr. J. Ward Cox of Derby through W.O. Bentley's favorite London dealer, 'Bertie' Kensington Moir. The Short Chassis mod....[continue reading]

Robinson Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: HB3410 
Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: HB3403 
Two-Seat Sports by Harrison
Chassis #: DS3568 
Tourer by Vanden Plas
 
Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: FB3317 
Tourer by Thrupp and Maberly
Chassis #: MR3990 
Offset Single Seater
Chassis #: HB3402 
Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: HR3976 
Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: HB3404/R 
Tourer
Chassis #: NX3466 
Salmon & Sons Coupe by Salmon & Sons
 
 
Tourer
Chassis #: SM 3903 
Sport Touring by Harrison
 
Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: RL3427 
Tourer
Chassis #: RC2209 
Tourer
Chassis #: TX3246 
Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: DS3575 
Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: NX3451 
Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: NX3452 
Open Sports Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: NX3463 


Concepts by Bentley

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Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Bentley
1934Ford (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)Plymouth (321,171)
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)
1932Chevrolet (313,404)Ford (210,824)Plymouth (186,106)
1931Chevrolet (619,554)Ford (615,455)Buick (138,965)
1930Ford (1,140,710)Chevrolet (640,980)Buick (181,743)
1929Ford (1,507,132)Chevrolet (1,328,605)Buick (196,104)
1928Chevrolet (1,193,212)Ford (607,592)Willys Knight (231,360)
1927Chevrolet (1,001,820)Ford (367,213)Buick (255,160)
1926Ford (1,669,847)Chevrolet (547,724)Buick (266,753)
1925Ford (1,669,847)Chevrolet (306,479)Dodge (201,000)
1924Ford (1,831,128)Chevrolet (264,868)Dodge (193,861)

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