1929 Bentley 4½ Litre Dual-Cowl Sports Tourer
|Written by Paul Hardiman|
|Sunday, 01 April 2012 10:12|
By 1926, Bentley saw a need for a new 4-cylinder model. Although a Le Mans winner, the 3 Litre was wanting in international competition, and the standard road cars suffered from increasingly heavy bodies. With the 6½ Litre in production, Bentley sought to combine the light chassis of the 3 Litre with the added power of a larger motor. The result was essentially a 3 Litre chassis with a cut-down, 4-cylinder version of the 6½-liter engine.
With a handful of 4½ Litre Team Cars at their disposal, the Bentley Boys quickly amassed Le Mans and Grand Prix finishes and victories. Although the Speed Six was the true victor at Le Mans for Bentley, it was Birkin’s respect for the 4½ Litre that led to the development of the Blower Bentley.
The 4½ was W.O.’s racing workhorse, but the production 4½ Litre was to be, in most cases, a luxury car fitted with saloon coachwork. For Bentley enthusiasts, the 4½ Litre was a racing car. Campaigned privately throughout Europe, the 4½ quickly gained a reputation for being the best-handling vintage Bentley with an exceptional power-to-weight ratio.