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1930 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre    
Original 1929 Numbers
Chassis No. DS3568
Engine No. DS3565
Registration No. UV 6088

  This car - updated
Chassis No. DS3568
Engine No. DS3565
Registration No. UV 6088

(Updated with information from Gooding & Company. - August 2011)
 
June 2017
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  Source: Flickr, posted by user 'Emil'
Posted: Aug 28, 2017
 
     
August 2011
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  The Former J.H. Hanley and R.H. Dutton New-York-to-San-Francisco Record Attempt

1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre Two-Seat Sports
Coachwork by Harrison Ltd.
CHASSIS NO. DS3568
ENGINE NO. DS3565

$1,000,000 - $1,400,000

- Exceedingly Rare Semi-Le Mans Specification Chassis
- Exceptional Period-Competition History
- Ideal International Event Entrant
- Multiple Award-Winning Example, Including a Class Award at Pebble Beach
- Appropriate Bentley Appeal
- An Important Vintage Bentley

- 4,398 CC OHV Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
- Twin SU G5 “Sloper” Carburetors
- 110 HP
- 4-Speed Non-Synchromesh Manual “D” Gearbox
- 4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes
- Live-Axle Suspension with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs


Although the exact quantity is unknown, a handful of cars were ordered from Bentley as semi-Le Mans chassis. This particular 4½ Litre is one of those very rare cars built by Bentley as a special order with “Le Mans Style” penned at the top of the original build sheet. The car was constructed with a large 25-gallon fuel tank, extended bonnet, spring-loaded bonnet strap, stone guard radiator, inboard foot-brake adjustment, adjustable Andre shock absorbers, a low-mounted spare and P100 headlamps with stone guards. Fitted with a “British Flexible” Harrison sports two-seat body with a fold-flat wind- screen, DS3568 was delivered in August 1929.

The special, and presumably expensive, 4½ Litre was ordered by J.H. Hanley. Mr. Hanley, who attended Oxford University in England, was an American descendant of English grandparents. While at Oxford, he befriended Richard H. Dutton, an Australian well known for his rowing prowess. In 1908, H.H. Dutton, Richard’s father, gained fame as the first individual to drive across Australia from North to South. Although the details are lost to time, one can only imagine the conversation that inspired these two friends and fellow graduates to challenge the New York-to- San Francisco trans-American record. At the time, the record was held by a Studebaker, which managed to complete the 3,200-mile voyage in 77 hours and 40 minutes.

As familiar as an American and an Australian might be with the implications of a cross-country drive on poor quality roads through vast open country, the idea was nothing less than ambitious. Nevertheless, the decision was made to enter the race and a car was ordered. With triumphs at Le Mans and the playboy appeal of the Bentley Boys, the 4½ Litre Bentley was a natural choice for the Oxford grads.

Through the research and interest of BDC members, a great deal is known about the journey. On August 10, 1929, the Morning Post noted the proposed attempt of the two young men and their trip to France to “run-in” the Bentley. On that same day, the New York Times mentioned the car and crew sailing for New York. Period photos of Hanley and Dutton with their new car are most likely press images and one was printed on August 23rd by Autocar with a brief caption laying out the proposed record attempt.

The young men arrived in New York and set out on the Lincoln Highway bound for the West Coast. They reached Chicago in record time, unquestionably pushing the semi-Le Mans 4½ Litre. In their hotel room that night, Hanley and Dutton are said to have been visited by “two burly men who told them that the record which they had beaten still held.” Their sharp disapproval of this fact was met by one of the thugs producing a gun and yet another warning to “forget about [their] Bentley record.”

Hanley and Dutton carried on and a series of photos capture the struggle. The roads appear to have been in exceptionally poor condition, sometimes covered in snow. It is believed they made it across Iowa, but in Wyoming or Colorado, just before the Great Divide, trouble struck. The awful roads and a supposed blizzard ended the trek when the sump was damaged. In one of the photos, the Bentley can be seen being towed by two draft horses.

Back in England, factory records for the 4½ Litre show an early 1930 reading of the mileage at 13,699 and a new owner, Viscount Malden. Routine work was performed on the well-used car and in 1930 it passed to L.H.W. Preston, who used the car in New York for a period of months in 1931. In 1933, Harecourt Smith purchased the 4½ Litre and factory records extend into 1939, at which time the car was apparently sold. It is believed that during this period, the rear of the body was opened to accommodate another seat.

Nothing is known of this Bentley’s war-time existence, but by 1947, DS3568 was in the hands of D.J. Garsten. In 1948, the car was purchased by BDC member R. Elton. In the first year of Mr. Elton’s ownership, he and the car met with an unfortunate accident. A 1951 BDC Review gives an account of the incident, along with photos showing the extent of the damage. The driver’s side of the car apparently collided with a truck and the axles, fenders and coachwork were seriously impacted.

In 1949, Mr. Elton commissioned Don McKenzie, who had purchased remaining Bentley parts when the Bentley service department closed, to rebuild the car. With NOS items at hand, Mr. McKenzie rebuilt DS3568 on a replacement frame, MK4. In addition, the front axle was replaced by one from a 6½-litre Bentley. At that time, the car was re-registered HBY 625.

After the work was completed, Mr. Elton kept the 4½ Litre for another six years before selling it to C.A. West in 1955. Mr. West sold the car some seven years later to M.A. Roberts of New Jersey. During Mr. Roberts’ ownership, a vast amount of research was done on the history of the car. Mr. Roberts, the son of Montague Roberts, was fascinated with the trans-American record attempt, in part due to his father’s participation in the 1908 New York-to-Paris race in which he helped pilot the Thomas Flyer.

In the February 1981 BDC Review, Hugh Young recounted Mr. Roberts’ findings on the history of DS3568. Letters between Mr. Roberts and club members, as well as R.H. Dutton’s brothers, helped to clear doubt as to whether or not the Bentley had even made the trip. Mr. Roberts cherished the 4½ Litre, particularly for its history, but in 1984 the car was sold to the vendor, a dedicated Bentley enthusiast.

Understanding the importance of this particular Bentley, he set out to restore the car to a level it deserved. Throughout the 1990s, work was performed by two restoration shops in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania. The cosmetics and bodywork were handled by Chalfant Motor Car Company and The Frawling Company performed the mechanical work.

Attesting to the quality of the restoration, DS3568 received a Second in Class at the 2001 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, First Place and Best of Show at the RROC National Meet in Calgary, Senior and Premier 100 points at CCCA events, and a Senior award, Senior Grand National award and the S.F. Edge Trophy in AACA competition. This important 4½ Litre has also participated in contemporary Bentley Motors’ events. Additionally, DS3568 is a multiple NAVBM veteran, attesting to its mechanical integrity.

Although DS3568 suffered an accident in its early life, the car received a legitimate and necessary replacement of parts. Well-restored and infinitely usable, this car is poised to be a significant entry in a host of international events. With such an exceptional early history as a semi-Le Mans specification chassis, the Hanley and Dutton 4½ Litre remains a very important Bentley.

This car is for sale as of August 19, 2011.
 
     
     
  Source: Gooding & Company
Updated: Aug 19, 2011
Posted: Aug 04, 2011
 
     
2006
In USA in 2006 / Owned by an RROC member
2004
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Photographs were taken during 2004 Radnor Hunt Rally and Concours in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

 
     
     
  Source: Ed Hyman
Posted: Nov 27, 2007
 
     
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  Source: Classic British Cars
Posted: Jun 15, 2006
 
     
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  Source: Gooding & Company
Posted: Aug 19, 2011
 
     
EARLIEST RECORD OF HISTORICAL FACTS & INFORMATION
 
Chassis No. DS3568
Engine No. DS3565
Registration No. UV 6088
Date of Delivery: Aug 1929
Type of Body: 2-seater
Coachbuilder: Harrison
Type of Car: No info
   
First Owner: HANLEY J H
 
     
  More Info: Hanley / Dutton car.

Michael Hay, in his book Bentley: The Vintage Years, 1997, states: "'Le Mans type chassis'. The trans-American Hanley & Dutton car with "BF" ("British Flexible") Harrison body. Rebuilt and re-reg 1949 by McKenzie. Ch no. MK4 (McKenzie 4) re-reg HBY 625. In USA."
 
     
     
  Posted: Mar 01, 2007  
     
 
 
 
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Sep 22, 2017 - Info and photographs received from Peter Woods for Registration No. NW 5917
Sep 21, 2017 - Info and photographs received from Martin Dolleschel for his Chassis No. BR2353
Sep 20, 2017 - Info and photographs received from Carter Johnson for his Registration No. TD 4512
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