"Walter Owen Bentley proudly showed his new 3 litre car at the 1919 Olympia Motor Exhibition, the prototype engine having fired up for the first time a few weeks earlier. This was the model which was to become a motor racing legend, with its classical radiator design and the British Racing Green livery, it has become the archetypal vintage sports car. Early success in the 1922 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy where Bentleys finished second, forth and fifth to take the team prize. However, by the mid 1920’s, the 3 Litre’s competitiveness was on the wane, together with the fact that too many customers were fitting unsuitable heavy coachwork led to the introduction of the 4½ Litre. The new 4½ model consisted of the chassis, gearbox and brakes of the 3 Litre model that it was replacing, the engine was, in essence, two-thirds of the six-cylinder 6½ litre unit. The new four-cylinder motor retained the same bore and stroke, four valves per cylinder driven by an overhead camshaft and having a combined block and cylinder head.
This matching numbers WO Bentley 4½ litre was fitted with a Vanden Plas, four seat, open tourer body was supplied to its first owner, S K Thornley in May 1928. In July 1928, the car was entered in the Bournemouth Concours D’Elegance and shortly after, in September, he took the car to France to attend Boulogne Motor Week. In 1932, it was purchased by the owner of Salmons and Sons Coachbuilders, Mr. Fred Salmon, who fitted the current 1928 Drophead Coupé body that he had had especially constructed for his personal use four years earlier and had fitted to his American King chassis. Salmons Coachbuilders was started in the 1820’s building horse drawn carriages with their first body on a car in 1898. The firm remained in the family control until becoming a limited company in 1939, then renamed Tickford Ltd. in 1943. In 1955, the company became the home to Aston Martin after the David Brown takeover. This Bentley had a further four owners in the UK over the next twenty years before being exported to the USA in 1962. By 1981, it was back in the UK and is pictured in the definitive history ‘Salmons and Sons, Tickford Coachbuilders’ by Dennis Mynard (featured on page 72) outside Aston Martin following the factory restoration. The car was then purchased by our vendors father in 1984 and put into his collection of classic cars based in Wales. During his ownership, he attended a number of Bentley Driver's Club and Vintage Sports Car Club events as well as rallies in the South of France and competing in the Gordon Bennet rally in Ireland. The car has been fitted with an overdrive unit, effective in third and forth gears, to assist in cruising to the long-distance events. Finished in green with black wings, black roof and black leather interior, this 4½ has been kept in dry storage since 2012 and has recently been started and was driven for the catalogue photographs. This Classic ‘WO’ is supplied with a V5 registration document, old V5 registration papers and a file containing old MoT test certificates, work receipts going back to 1997, copies of old photographs of the car back in 1928 and after and a copy of ‘Salmons and Sons, Tickford Coachbuilders’ by Dennis C. Mynard. This is an opportunity to purchase a vintage Bentley fitted with a period body and sufficiently good performance to still be a practical car on today’s roads."