This 1929 Bentley 4½‑litre was in the same family for 80 years
What better way to kick off Bentley’s centenary year at Goodwood than by splurging on your own 4.5-Litre? The 1929 Vanden Plas tourer is the star of the show at the Bonhams 77th Members’ Meeting sale on Sunday 7th April.
It’s a rather special 4.5-Litre, too, aiming to make an equally special £600-800,000. In single family ownership for the past 80 years, and with its original chassis, engine, gearbox, body and registration, Bonhams says it’s a remarkably original Bentley treasure from the past.
“To see a timewarp example like this in wonderful condition is quite astonishing, as they come onto the market very infrequently,” Rob Hubbard, Bonhams Motoring Department specialist, tells us.
Many things make this Bentley stand out – including a fascinating wartime stint towing a Bofors gun for the Royal Artillery. But it’s the fact that it retains its original four-seater sports coachwork, as fitted by Vanden Plas 80 years ago, that makes it such an unusual find among surviving Cricklewood-built Bentleys. Its matching numbers originality has been authenticated by marque authority Dr Clare Hay.
The car’s first owner was a Major Parker. Clearly an enthusiast, he sent it back to Bentley in 1930 for an upgrade to Le Mans spec with all the must-have options of the day: hour glass pistons, flat top valves, flexible petrol connections, an Autopulse fuel pump and extra shock absorbers. The 4.5 – essentially the 3-Litre chassis with a new four-cylinder engine based on the 6.5-litre straight-six motor – had already proved itself at La Sarthe by appearing there in prototype form in 1927 when it set the fastest lap.
Major Parker dreamed of more power though, and in 1932 he went back to Jack Barclay and traded it in for a supercharged 3.5-Litre. Alistair Maclennan purchased the Bentley in 1939 and the car has been in the family ever since, recently recommissioned after a period of being laid up and now said to be ready to go. Bentley fans wanting to party like it’s 1929 queue here…