1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1928
  • Car type 
    Convertible / Roadster
  • Chassis number 
    TX3239
  • Engine number 
    TX3241
  • Reference number 
    YW6279
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Restored
  • Interior brand colour 
    Dark Green
  • Interior type 
    Leather
  • Number of doors 
    2
  • Number of seats 
    4
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Black
  • Gearbox 
    Manual
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

It was built as a 1928 model 4½ Litre The original engine number was TX3241 (confirmed in 2010). The chassis was the standard 10'10" wheelbase, and the back axle the standard 15/53 (3.53:1) ratio. The chassis was despatched to Vanden Plas for bodyingaround March/April 1928, to order for Bentley Motors (“Our Own Body Order”). The completed car was returned toBentley’s works at Cricklewood and passed off Final Test on 16 June 1928, the day the five-year guarantee was issued
(GE—guarantee expires—date in the Service Record of 16 June 1933).

The original Vanden Plas was body no.1486. This number can still be seen stamped into the longitudinal floorboard runners (from underneath) and into the nearside bottom timber, in front of and to the left of the passenger seat. A copy of the Vanden Plas body record is reproduced below. The body was a standard sports four-seater open body finished in blue pebble-grain fabric supplied by Weymanns and trimmed in Carreras FA51 blue hides, with the chassis and wings finished in Lactoloid X609, color not specified, with the wheels stove enameled to match. Originally the bonnet was to be fabric covered, but this was cancelled before the body was finished, and an extra charge is noted for the special hides. The spare wheel must have been side-mounted as a luggage grid is specified, with a fabric cover for the spare wheel. Scuttle ventilators are specified along with an Easting rear screen and separate coconut mats for the floor. A small driving mirror and the client’s bulb horn were fitted, along with the Barker headlamp dipping mechanism. The windscreen is also specified, with four panes rather than the usual three with a center divider to the lower pane. The completed car was registered YW6279, a London registration number, but unfortunately the London records were destroyed by the GLC in 1979. TX3239 was supplied by Frank Scott, a major dealer in Newcastle, to F. Scott Jopling.

It seems from the Service Record that Mr Jopling didn’t get on with the clutch, originally the cone clutch fitted to the 3 Litre and early 4½ Litre chassis. With the 4½ Litre engine the cone clutch needs a pretty strong spring, so Bentleys designed a plate clutch fitted as standard to 1929 and later model 4½ Litre cars. A plate clutch was fitted to this chassis by Bentleys in November 1931. The Service Record continues through to March 1936 with only minor work listed.

Mr Jopling kept TX3239 until at least 1955. The second recorded owner is L. Goldsmith, who kept the Bentley until 1984. It was exhibited in the Bickton Motor Museum for many years. It was then bought by Brian Verrall, and I inspected the car in 1989 when it was sold to an American owner, A. Lampert. It was in very original order then, with repair work visible to the exterior fabric (there was a join below the windscreen pillar on the driver’s side). I understand that TX3239 experienced some damage due to fire in 1999 and has since been restored. A. Lampert gives it to the prestigious dealer Gregor Fiskens, who sold it in 2010 to Federico Alvarez Castillo, of Argentina.

Inspection of Car.
As now the chassis, running gear and body of TX3239 are exceptionally original (noting of course the plate clutch fitted by Bentleys in 1931). The steering column, front axle beam, back axle banjo and differential unit are all numbered TX3239. The chassis frame is the correct early pattern with no reinforcing brackets above the strut gear uprights and with narrow flanges to the bottoms of the chassis side rails (these were deepened and extra reinforcing added above the strut gear brackets after frame failures at Le Mans in 1928). There is a welded reinforcing strip to each chassis top channel below the body. VdP put a felt strip between the body and the chassis top flange, and this traps water, so corrosion here is common with original cars. The chassis has the correct early pattern bulkhead, B&D friction shock absorbers all round, correct 4½ Litre petrol tank, and so on. With the exception of modern wiring beneath the scuttle and a modern petrol pump the chassis looks to be entirely original.

The body is the original VdP body with, so far as I can tell, the original front seats with their drop catches and runners, original rear floorboards, and original hood frame (the windscreen was away for plating). The spare wheel carrier also looks to be correct. The Barker dipping headlamp mechanism and the luggage grid are listed in the VdP body record. The Lucas P100 headlamps are most likely a later fitting, a 1928 model 4½ Litre would have been fitted with Smiths headlamps new.