Documented by Dr. Clare Hay to retain its original chassis, engine, body, and other equipment. Desirable Open Sports Tourer coachwork by Vanden Plas. Ideal for Concours showing or to enjoy on prestigious Bentley driving events around the globe.
1928 Bentley 4 ½ Liter Sports Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis no. TX3239,Engine no. TX3241
Vanden Plas body no. 1486
Black with Dark Green Leather
After more than a century of building exceptional cars, Bentley continues to set unprecedented standards of excellence combining the ultimate in performance and luxury with their premier offerings. For a 100-year-old company, one might expect such artifacts to no longer be relevant in today’s market. Nothing could be further from the truth when considering a pre-war Bentley. Today vintage motorsports events, rallies in Europe, long distance tours through the Middle East and South America are just a few of the engaging events that are rapidly capturing the interests of younger enthusiasts eager to experience the majesty of a pre-war Bentley. Far more than beautifully restored automobiles, the Bentley legend thrives today through a worldwide host of capable mechanical support enhanced by a dedicated ownership community and their determined challenge to drive their cars as intended. Not surprisingly, values for pre-war Bentleys are rapidly reflecting this growing surge of interest as properly prepared examples have been quickly acquired often before public exposure. Astute collectors today are eagerly seeking the earliest series original examples which have more recently vaulted to premier collector status due to their unique construction, and of course, the preservation of their much-coveted original chassis and running gear.
As part of the ongoing challenge to produce a formidable performance car, by the early 1920s Bentley framed their reputation on the traditions of racing excellence. Nowhere was that more evident and rapidly proven than on the daunting motorsports course - the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With their first victory achieved in 1924 as a fledgling car builder, Bentley went on to dominate Le Mans from 1927-1930 confirming not only their capacity for speed and endurance but doing so with poise and reliability – features of great import to wealthy clientele seeking motorcars with both mechanical confidence and impressive presence. The first of the 4 ½ liter chassis built was offered in 1927, debuting at the Olympia Motor Show, London, UK, the perfectly balanced 4 ½ liter combined the attributes of the powerful 6 ½ liter and durable 3 liter models, ideally blending the merits of both capable cars. In 1928, the 4 ½ liter achieved an astonishing victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a victory that not only vaulted the 4 ½ liter Bentley to great prominence, but also secured Bentley Motors Limited a place in history that continues to be revered by motorsports enthusiasts worldwide.
This extraordinary 4 ½ liter Bentley, chassis TX3239, has been personally inspected and comprehensively documented by world renowned Bentley authority Dr. Clare Hay. In her detailed report, Dr. Hay confirms this Bentley retains its matching numbers chassis, engine, driveline, major ancillary components, and virtually all of its original Vanden Plas body – a confluence of originality and exceptional restoration seldom found in a single example. Covering all aspects of the history, period photos, and most importantly confirming the chassis, running gear, and Vanden Plas bodywork to be “exceptionally original”, Dr. Hay states in the copious 2010 inspection of this car (and updated in 2014 by Dr. Hay) that the original features include the front axle beam, rear axle banjo, differential housing, and steering box, and that these components are reflective of factory original units, complete with factory TX3239 stampings. Additionally, the engine TX3241, documented from the factory and confirmed by Dr. Clare Hay, is also remarkably still retained as part of the complete and original drivetrain. Numerous photographs documenting the car, the stampings, and historic records further support this car as an exceptional example of authentic history retaining the original features that importantly secure this car as a factory correct example.
According to documentation supplied by Dr. Hay and records from Bentley Motors Limited, Chassis TX3239 was originally delivered to the first owner F. Scott Jopling, Hampshire, England. Outfitted with Vanden Plas Sports Touring bodywork finished with Rexine fabric covering the bodywork aft of the cowl. One of 665 normally aspirated 4 ½ liter Bentleys built, just 148 were outfitted with Sports Touring bodywork of this configuration. In November 1931, Jopling delivered the car to Bentley for a clutch update which involved changing the cone type clutch to the more comfortably usable plate type clutch. Service records continued nominally through March 1936, again supported by factory notes from Bentley Works logbooks. Jopling is believed to have retained the car until at least 1955.
The second owner of record was L. Goldsmith, who retained the car until 1984 with many years of exhibition housed at the Bickton Motor Museum, until it was purchased by Brian Verrall. Dr. Hay inspected the car in 1989 when it was sold to American collector A. Lapmpert who retained ownership into the mid 2000s. At that time, the car was reportedly still in very original condition, having been under continuous care during his ownership. The car was then sold to enthusiast George Dragone who exhibited the car in 2007 at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Shortly thereafter, dealer Gregor Fiskens sold the car to Federico Alvarez Castillo, Argentina, who performed additional restoration work on the car before selling it to the current and consigning owner who acquired the car through Fantasy Junction. Restoration work under Castillo’s ownership included paint by Jorge Sica, green leather upholstery by Andrezzoni, and engine work performed by Jorge Anadon. The restoration was completed to such a high standard that it allowed Castillo to compete in a 6,000 km drive from Buenos Aires to Machu Picchu in 2012. In 2014 Dr. Hay updated her report to include updates performed during the restoration some of which included the addition of a long-range fuel tank, the addition of a passenger side upper door dip reflecting the original door character line from the driver’s side, the addition of Marchal headlamps and driver lamps, the spare wheel relocated to the passenger side, and a few other details, all of which contribute to the stunning visual results of the car today.
Today this remarkable Bentley must be counted as one of the most visually impressive and factory correct 4 ½ liter examples in existence. The unique Sports Tourer body, with its impressive, powerful stance and race bred design, is finished in a sporting combination consisting of correct fabric covering, flanked by painted wings, cowl, and hood panels finished in brilliant gloss black. The original frame, original engine, beautifully finished interior, carpeting, and instruments all display exceptional visual harmony in keeping with the stunning restoration efforts performed on this captivating car. The Sports Tourer bodywork offers a classic race profile with seamlessly balanced proportions. The gracefully arched black fenders are perfectly perched above the tall profile black-wall shod wire wheels, delivering a stately yet sporting look as originally intended by Vanden Plas. The front and rear fender lines of the car are fused by wood running boards that add a warm touch of color to the powerful presence of this Bentley. Competition inspired features include stone guards over the auxiliary lamps, leather bonnet straps, extended fuel range tank, and rear tonneau cover all of which deliver a fantastic combination of power and delight.
Under the hood is a brilliant display of consummate vintage excellence composed to the finest of standards. The engine composition, beautifully detailed components, warmly hued copper details and brass accents perfectly convey the confluence of hand-machined elegance evoking the majesty of mechanical artistry seldom seen in a single car. The exquisite range of toned finishes, polished, painted, and correctly restored accessories reflect the integrity of this remarkably original vehicle, now resplendently celebrated through a remarkable restoration. The mechanical components are a feast of detail and casting brilliance, from the original numbered steering box to the twin SUG5 Sloper carburetors fed by carefully plumbed fuel lines. Every piece of hardware is hand crafted and superbly engineered, reflecting the era and splendor of this exceptional 4 ½ liter engine.
The interior continues the exquisite theme of stunning beauty with an array of instruments filling the well-appointed dashboard, enhanced by a commanding steering wheel, outfitted with engine idle and mixture controls centered in the four-spoke hub. The leather seating has been properly restored with attention to subtle details and contours including embossed “B” lettering on the door pockets, etched Vanden Plas door threshold entry plates, and ample seating for rear occupants. Further exceptional details include a fold-flat windscreen with Brooklands type sport screens, delightful glass domed tail lamps, riveted extended range fuel tank with original Bentley fuel cap, and of course, the distinctive flying B hood ornament.
As anyone who has had the pleasure of piloting a well-sorted pre-war Bentley will proudly confess, the driving experience with this Bentley is quite exceptional. Not only does this car have a commanding presence, the seemingly imposing nature and historic heft quickly dissolve within moments of familiarizing oneself with the controls and operational sequences of this impressive car. Having driven several W.O. cars over the years, we can say with the utmost confidence that the gearbox is smoother than any other example we’ve driven, the sound of the four-valve per cylinder OHC engine is robust and delightful, and the driving manners are simply sublime. Unlike often cantankerous pre-war cars, TX3239 is the best tuned and easiest driving W.O. we’ve experienced. We cannot stress enough the value of mechanical confidence and ease of use, especially for owners who wish to use their cars in events or share driving duties with friends or family members. The smooth operation, confident steering, and comfortable ride are all accompanied by a mechanical symphony of encouragement to press ahead with each successful shift, building mile after mile of joyful motoring experiences. The magic of a prewar Bentley is partly owed to the expertise administered with each confidently accrued mile and this example is both a bold and willing partner in such rewarding motoring.
TX3239 is accompanied by the original fuel tank, four (4) original wheels, a top and top frame, a large binder containing copies of original documents including detailed notations from Dr. Clare Hay and factory reference materials, a rear tonneau cover, and a copy of the complete Dr. Clare Hay inspection and report.
With more and more important automotive events seeking the finest examples of this celebrated marque, this exceptional Bentley 4 ½ liter Sports Tourer represents an extraordinary opportunity for a collector/enthusiast to own a car of exceptional restoration combined with undisputed provenance, original chassis and running gear, coupled with the rarity of prewar Bentley heritage. This truly amazing Bentley will surely serve as the centerpiece of even the finest collections, while offering the immense joy of driving in a wide range of events. For anyone who desires an elegant prewar coachbuilt automobile with documented original features and beautiful visual composition, TX3239 will surely exceed the expectations of even the most discriminating and astute collectors.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608