1925 Bentley 3/ 4 1/2 Litre

Open Tourer


  • Year of manufacture 
  • Car type 
  • Chassis number 
    PH 1453
  • Lot number 
  • Drive 
  • Condition 
  • Exterior brand colour 
  • Interior brand colour 
  • Interior type 
  • Number of doors 
  • Number of seats 
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
  • Gearbox 
  • Drivetrain 
  • Fuel type 


Revered by collectors the world over, the Bentleys built between 1919 and 1931 have gone down in history as some of the most important and valuable motor cars ever made, a period when Walter Owen Bentley’s eponymous automobiles ruled the open road and came to dominate the French endurance classic held annually in the town of Le Mans. The earliest model to wear the famous winged radiator badge first appeared in prototype form at the Olympia Motor Show in 1919. Powered by a four-cylinder engine with a bore and stroke of 80mm by 149mm and a single overhead camshaft, the 3-litre was a technical marvel, boasting four valves per cylinder and an output estimated to be around 70 horsepower at 3500 rpm. Production commenced at Cricklewood in 1921, with early cars built on a 9’ 9.5” two-wheel braked chassis before the Standard Long chassis of 10’ 10” was adopted in 1923, the shorter chassis reserved thereafter for the so-called ‘Red Label’ Speed Model. Bentley adopted Perrot-type brakes on all four wheels in 1924 and many customers took the opportunity to update their two-wheel braked cars at additional cost. The original Smiths carburettor was later replaced with a later 45BVS type and a Claudel-Hobson item became optional, while Speed models employed twin SUs. Bentley Motors guaranteed 75 mph was possible on the longer chassis model, with speeds increasing to 80 mph for the short and 90 mph on the Speed model, although the weight of the coachwork necessarily influenced an individual car’s performance. In addition to the success enjoyed at Le Mans, which the 3-litre claimed in 1924 and again in 1927, the model also finished second in the 1922 Tourist Trophy held on the Isle of Man, a fine record for what was essentially a production road car. The vast majority of 3-litres wore bodywork by Vanden Plas although the finest coachbuilders of the day, including the likes of Gurney Nutting, Freestone & Webb, Park Ward and H J Mulliner, all contributed to the wonderful variety of bodywork that graced the 3-litre chassis, ranging in style from simple open tourers to elaborate coupé de villes. Bentley built around 1615 production 3-litres between 1921 and 1924 and it remains one of the finest, not to mention collectible, sporting cars of the era.

-Lovely Bentley 3-litre in the style of Vanden Plas
- Upgraded to 4 ½-litre specification
- Good history, supplied with original engine

This magnificent Bentley 3-litre was built on the standard 10’ 10” chassis and originally wore saloon bodywork by J Gurney Nutting & Co Ltd in Chelsea, London SW3, one of approximately 144 examples bodied by this highly respected coachbuilder. Delivered to the first owner, a Mr Penman of Wimbledon, in March 1926, the car was first registered with the UK plates KU 7964. The car had several further owners pre-war and ended up being converted to ambulance bodywork during the war. Post-war the Bentley changed hands several more times before being restored in the period 1969-1975 by the Cook brothers with replica Vanden Plas style tourer bodywork by Tony Robinson. Renowned London dealer Dan Margulies sold PH 1453 to Australian Ken Moir in 1979 who, judging from the history file, spent a lot of time and money getting the car running properly, ultimately selling it to well-known Melbourne collector Ray Delaney in March 2002. During his ownership, Delaney had the car fettled by The Delage Garage and the interior re-trimmed by specialist Garry Blackman, with the rear seat recovered and two new front seats made to original patterns, along with new tonneau covers and the hood re-done. The current owner, a mechanical engineer from NSW, purchased the 3-litre towards the end of 2004 and it has formed a part of his small private collection of Bentleys and Rolls-Royce motor cars ever since. An active BDC and VSCC member, the owner made the decision to convert the car to 4 ½-litre specification several years ago, a common modification in the vintage Bentley world. The original 3-litre engine no. HP 382, reportedly worn out, was set aside and a replacement 4 ½-litre block sourced from the UK, along with a new crankcase and internals. The steering column, gearbox, diff and rear axle are all stamped with the original numbers, as is the chassis frame in the right places (dumb iron and front cross-member), while the front axle appears to be a replacement. Previously registered on non-transferable NSW club plates, the Bentley will be offered for sale unregistered and is accompanied by a history file and importantly, the original numbered 3-litre crankcase and a cylinder block included in the sale.

Note: Shannons advise that all potential buyers research all vehicles before purchase to authenticate originality.