For many the 3-4 ½ is the ultimate W.O. Bentley; the light, nimble chassis of the 3 Litre with the punch from the larger engine displacement.
Chassis BL 1607 was bodied new with a two door Vanden Plas open four seater, the same body that sits on the chassis today. When new in 1927, it served as a demonstrator for the Princess Motor Company of Portsmouth, then purchased by its first private owner, Mr G Tetley of London, later that year. The factory service records show that Sir Malcom Campbell, World Land and Water Speed record breaker, was the second owner. It was during his tenure that the factory upgraded the steering to a 4 ½ Litre column. By the time he sold it about a year later, the odometer was reading 16,495 miles.
The well detailed Bentley Motors service history records further owners, as well as replacing the front axle. By 1945 it had only covered only 46,000 miles, when owner Major C.A Hartridge boasted that he could speed from Oxford to Winchester in one hour dead, late at night. That’s going some….
The previous owner purchased the Bentley from the late, great Stanley Mann in 1982, and had it looked after by both P&A Wood and Jonathan Wood during his tenure.
The current custodian purchased BL 1607 at auction in 2012, and has since been through the car front to back. Most of this work was undertaken by Craig Collings. The list of work, costing in excess of £150,000, is too long to list here, but in summary:
- The body was taken off and small, localised repairs were made.
- Chassis sandblasted and repainted its original red.
- The rear axle was completely rebuilt.
- Overdrive fitted
- All suspension was rebushed, shock absorbers overhauled and spring gaiters fitted
- New clutch, including carden shaft assembly and couplings
- New, correct pattern exhaust system
- All brakes completely refurbished
- Gearbox rebuild
- Rebuild engine to 4.5 Litre including a new block, balanced crank, rods and pistons,
- Refurbish the whole dashboard
This is by no means the exhaustive list of work completed, just a summary of the more significant items. It is also worth noting that it is finished in its original factory colours of black body, sitting on a red chassis with red trim.
Since the work was completed, it has been used for touring both in the U.K. and abroad, where it performed faultlessly.
This exceptionally well prepared W.O. Bentley isn’t over restored, sits well and looks every part the fast, sporty tourer it was when new. Taking into account the unbroken history, previous ownership and recent expenditure, this really is an opportunity to buy one of the best Vintage Bentley’s available today.