1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre Le Mans 
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If there is one car that embodies the spirit of British motoring achievement in the 'Roaring Twenties' it is the Bentley 4.5 Litre Le Mans

Reference Number 594410

as of 10/25/2019

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Peter Bradfield Ltd  Contact  Location
8 Reece Mews  Phone  0207 589 8787  City  South Kensington
 Fax  0207 581 4588  State  London
United Kingdom  Mobile  07803 939 134  Country  United Kingdom United Kingdom
Car 1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre Le Mans
VIN AB 3357 
Exterior / Interior Color      Green /      Green 
Registration XV 4345 
Configuration Right Hand Drive (RHD) 
Transmission Manual Shift 
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Known History

If there is one car that embodies the spirit of British motoring achievement in the ‘Roaring Twenties’ it’s the Bentley 4½ Litre. Establishing its reputation at the arduous Le Mans 24 hour endurance race, it has become a motoring icon and recognised the world over. A good 4½ Litre is a great all-rounder and will serve faithfully as Tourer, Sportscar, Racing car and Rally car and with four valves per cylinder and an overhead cam shaft it was one of the fastest and finest cars on the road. 658 were built during the six years between 1927 and 1931. The price of a new Bentley 4½ Litre with open coachwork was about £ 1,300, over six times the average house price of £ 200.


This car was built in 1928 and the original Bentley archives record that it was not a private order but built for stock. In these instances the company would choose the most saleable body and not surprisingly chose to copy the 1928 Motorshow car which was the Sports Tourer by Vanden Plas that featured the long bonnet as used on the racing cars of the day. This is confirmed by the Vanden Plas build sheet that states “As Show Job” and “Bonnet 6 inches longer than standard”.


The first owner was a Mr. Russell Smith of Burnham, Buckinghamshire but by1937 the car was in the hands of the local garage owner and racing enthusiast Dick Wilcox. He entered the car in the 12 Hours Sports Car Race at Donington, sharing the driving with his friend, David Steele. In an incident filled race they finished 23rd overall but second in class behind Prince Bira in a Delahaye. There is a wealth of period photographs and written accounts of the race and David Steele even appeared in newspaper articles in 2002 when aged 85. In these articles he commented that the car was requisitioned by the authorities during the war although it appeared in the 1940 feature film “Over the Moon”, starring Rex Harrison and Merle Oberon. Perhaps this was considered ‘war work’ but in any case it was released into private hands again in 1946 and issued the registration FER 134.


The car had three further owners before 1956 when it passed into the long term custodianship of Robin Shrimpton who kept the car for over 50 years, only selling in 2007. Shrimpton kept a log from the date he acquired the car detailing his activities and amazingly this is still with the car. He had Hoffmann & Mountfort shorten the chassis to 9 foot 9½ inches in 1963 emulating the Tim Birkin race specification. The log records improvements and repairs along with trips undertaken and changes of government. In 1985 he commissioned Jim Pike at Excel Engineering to fit a Le Mans type body which appropriately retained the long bonnet (as per the Tim Brkin racers), and this is still fitted today.


In 2007 the car benefitted from an NDR engine rebuild with Phoenix crankshaft and con-rods. The MOT’s indicate that the car has covered less than 1,300 since this work was carried out. The numbered crankcase and gearbox are original and correct. In addition the car has a modern overdrive, servo assisted brakes and a fuel system that can be operated by electric pump or autovac, a combination that makes for an ideal rally car.


The current owner has had the car for over 10 years and he re-instated the original registration number and is reluctantly selling as a recent house move leaves him short of garaging.


To sum up this is a very attractive short chassis Birkin spec Le Mans style Bentley, with Vanden Plas heritage, long bonnet, Pre-War Race history, matching number chassis, engine, gearbox, steering box, front axle and registration. It has a rebuilt engine with overdrive and servo brakes and comes with a weighty history file and fully known provenance.



Recorded Owners


1928 - 1937 A. Russell-Smith of Burnham, Bucks.


1937 – 1940 Dick Wilcox of Iver, Bucks *


1940 – 1948 A. B. Hyde of Glamorgan, then requisitioned for War work


1948 – 1948 H. Kemp-Place, post war re-registered FER 134


1948 – 1950 D.L. Forster


1950 – 1956 E.F. Guinness


1956 – 2007 R. Shrimpton (51 years)


2007 – 2019 P. Dezelsky, re-registered XV 4345


* The car featured in the feature film “Over the Moon” that was produced between 1937 and 1939 by London Film Productions based at the studios in Denham, not far from Iver so it is likely that the car was still in the care of Wilcox at this point.