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1930 Bentley 4½ Litre    
Original Numbers
Chassis No. XF3523
Engine No. XF3523
Registration No. GC 7080

  This car - updated
Chassis No. XF3523
Engine No. -
Registration No. GC 7080

(Updated with information from Bonhams. - November 2017)
November 2017
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Found on Bonhams website on November 3, 2017

Preview lot

A matching numbers example
1929 Bentley 4½-Litre 'Le Mans Replica' Tourer
Coachwork in the style of Vanden Plas

Registration no. GC 7080
Chassis no. XF3523
£500,000 - 600,000

* Originally a Maythorn-bodied drophead coupé
* Restored and re-bodied in the 1980s
* Well documented ownership
* Overdrive transmission, alternator electrics, electric cooling fan

With characteristic humility, 'W O' was constantly amazed by the enthusiasm of later generations for the products of Bentley Motors Limited, and it is testimony to the soundness of his engineering design skills that so many of his products have survived. From the humblest of beginnings in a mews garage off Baker Street, London in 1919, the name of Bentley rapidly achieved fame as an exciting fast touring car, well able to compete with the best of European and American sports cars in the tough world of motor sport in the 1920s. Bentley's domination at Le Mans in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929, and 1930 is legendary, and one can only admire the Herculean efforts of such giants as Woolf Barnato, Jack Dunfee, Tim Birkin, and Sammy Davis, consistently hurling the British Racing Green sports cars to victory.

W O Bentley had proudly debuted the new 3-litre car bearing his name on Stand 126 at the 1919 Olympia Motor Exhibition, the prototype engine having fired up for the first time just a few weeks earlier. In only mildly developed form, this was the model which was to become a legend in motor racing history and which, with its leather-strapped bonnet, classical radiator design, and British Racing Green livery has become the archetypal vintage sports car.

Early success in the 1922 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, when Bentleys finished second, fourth, and fifth to take the Team Prize, led to the introduction of the TT Replica (later known as the Speed Model). However, by the middle of the decade the 3-Litre's competitiveness was on the wane and this, together with the fact that too many customers had been tempted to fit unsuitably heavy coachwork to the excellent 3-Litre chassis rather than accept the expense and complexity of Bentley's 6½-litre 'Silent Six', led to the introduction of the '4½'.

The new 4½-Litre model effectively employed the chassis, transmission and brakes of the 3-Litre, combined with an engine that was in essence two-thirds of the six-cylinde 6½-litre unit. Thus the new four-cylinder motor retained the six's 100x140mm bore/stroke and Bentley's familiar four-valves-per-cylinder fixed-'head architecture, but reverted to the front-end vertical camshaft drive of the 3-Litre. Bentley Motors lost no time in race-proving its new car. It is believed that the first prototype engine went into the 3-Litre chassis of the 1927 Le Mans practice car. Subsequently this same engine was fitted to the first production 4½-Litre chassis for that year's Grand Prix d'Endurance at the Sarthe circuit.

The original 4½-Litre car, nicknamed by the team 'Old Mother Gun' and driven by Frank Clement and Leslie Callingham, promptly set the fastest race lap of 73.41mph before being eliminated in the infamous 'White House Crash' multiple pile-up.

The 4½-Litre was produced for four years, all but nine of the 665 cars made being built on the 3-Litre's 'Long Standard', 10' 10"-wheelbase chassis. Purchasers of the 4½-Litre model were, in common with those of all Vintage-period Bentleys, free to specify their preferences from a very considerable range of mechanical and electrical equipment, in addition to whatever body style and coachbuilder might be required.

Chassis number 'XF3523' was originally bodied as a Weymann Sports Drophead Coupé by the Biggleswade-based firm of Maythorn & Son Ltd, a coachbuilder mainly associated with Daimler, FIAT, and Minerva but which also bodied other quality makes including Rolls-Royce and, of course, Bentley. The Velox body from a Vauxhall was fitted at some stage after WW2, before 'XF3523' was rebuilt in the 1980s as a Vanden Plas 'Le Mans' Team Car-style four-seat tourer with a body by Townshend.

The car's first owner was one H A Buckler, followed by Annette E Bradley (from circa 1947), W H Dobson (1955), G P Brock (1956), R A Jardine (1963), and R H Grant (1964). Records show that the latter kept the Bentley until at least 1980. Next owner David Robson of Sussex purchased the car in 1988 from marque specialist Stanley Mann, who is thought to have carried out the re-body and restoration.

In 1991, Elmdown Engineering carried out a thorough inspection and undertook extensive remedial works. New gears were fitted to the gearbox in 1999, and an alternator conversion fitted in 2001, and the car also benefits from an overdrive. The (original) engine appears to have been rebuilt in 2002 by L & R Engineering, while further engine work was carried out for Mr Robson in 2003 by Roger Clark. There are numerous invoices on file for these works.

The current owner purchased the Bentley from David Robson in 2003, and since then the car has been serviced and maintained by Tony Fabian of Blackmore Engineering, Shoreham (invoices on file). Vintage Bentley specialists William Medcalf Ltd carried out the most recent works in July 2016, which included a service, installing a Kenlowe electric cooling fan, and fitting new front tyres (see invoice for £4,635 on file). The original cooling fan and a roof-down car cover are included in the sale.

Offered with current MoT and a V5C Registration Certificate, 'GC 7080' represents a rare opportunity for collectors to obtain a matching-numbers Cricklewood Bentley bodied in the most desirable Vanden Plas 'Le Mans' Team Car style.

This car is for sale as of November 3, 2017

  Source: Bonhams
Posted: Dec 06, 2017
In England in 2003 / Owned by a BDC member
Chassis No. XF3523
Engine No. XF3523
Registration No. GC 7080
Date of Delivery: Oct 1929
Type of Body: Coupe
Coachbuilder: MAYTHORN
Type of Car: No info
First Owner: BUCKLER H A
  More Info: Michael Hay, in his book Bentley: The Vintage Years, 1997, states: "Was 2 seater ex Vauxhall Hurlingham reg KSM 2, now 4 seater by Townshend reg GC 7080."  
  Posted: Mar 01, 2007  
Submit more information on this car
Dec 15, 2017 - Info and photographs received from Hans Hugenholtz for Chassis No. KM3088
Dec 14, 2017 - Info and photographs added for Registration Nos. GP 31 & GP 401
Dec 13, 2017 - Info and photograph added for Registration Nos. YR 4575 & XP 8879

October 2017 issue
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