1930 Bentley 4 1/2 Liter

Sports Tourer, body by Vanden Plas
Gooding & Company's latest online auction averages $1.28M per car
Thursday, 28 January - Friday, 5 February 2021
Sale Price
$891,000 - $1,234,000
Est. Range
5 February 2021
Sold Date
Lot Number
Visually maintained, largely original
Gooding & Company
Auction House
Chassis no. AD3668; Engine no. AD3666. Green with black top over green leather. RHD. 4,398/105hp four cylinder, green painted wire wheels, tonneau cover, rear-mounted spare, radiator mascot, 4-spoke Bakelite steering wheel, running board low mounted tool box, heavy crank specification engine, "C" type gearbox, Bentley & Draper friction shock absorbers, 10' 10" wheelbase chassis.

Evaluation: A total of 720 4 1/2 Litre cars were produced between 1927 and 1931, the 4-cylinders simply being a 2-pot reduction of the famed Speed Six. This one had its frame replaced at Bentley in 1936 after an accident with one described in the catalogue description as “most likely new, unnumbered old stock.” Eventually acquired by Bill Spear in 1951, then passed to George Waterman, Jr. in 1956. Returned to the U.K. in 1973. Inspected by Dr. Clare Hay in 2013 and found to be the original bodywork, engine, gearbox, both axles and bonnet.

Imperfect two-pack paint with chips and swirl lines. The body fabric looks aged and faded. The headlamp rims have been sprayed over in body paint and it doesn’t sit right. The windscreen frame is dull. The running board underslung toolboxes are superb. The wheels and tyres are very well presented and look recently refreshed. The chassis look straight and original.

The seat leather is good but aged. The carpets disappoint with heel wear near the pedals. The engine looked correct and well kept. It doesn’t appear ever to have been fully restored, just maintained as needed and used as W.O. Bentley would have approved. A 4 1/2 Blower was James Bond’s original car in the first three novels. This is a good honest car but James might have sworn at Q if he was offered the key to this one rather than the Blower.

by Rick Carey
21 February 2021
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.