Lot 220

London 2023

1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Supercharged Le Mans Tourer in the style of Vanden Plas


£815,000 GBP | Sold

United Kingdom | London, United Kingdom



Chassis No.
  • Arguably the fastest vintage Bentley racing today
  • Rebuilt to 4½-Litre ‘Blower’ specification in 1990
  • Campaigned extensively in historic racing between 2006 and 2023
  • Raced by five-times Le Mans winner Derek Bell at the 2012 Le Mans Classic
  • The first Supercharged Bentley to win an international race meeting
  • Unbroken chain of ownership since new
  • Offered from 17 years of dedicated ownership
Please note if this vehicle is exported outside of the UK an export license will be required.

There are few sounds in motorsport quite as evocative as a Blower Bentley at full chat—a gruff explosion of noise and power only matched by the guttural howl of a Vulcan bomber. Unapologetically loud, dirty, and fearsomely quick, the model earned a legion of fans throughout the 1920s and 1930s despite never winning an international race meeting. An icon of British ingenuity, the model holds an appeal that has transcended the ages.

Chassis DS3573 started life as a ‘heavy chassis’ 4 ½-Litre with an H.J. Mulliner saloon body and was completed by the factory in August 1929 before being registered in July 1931 to none other than Chairman of Tate & Lyle, Sir Leonard Lyle. An intimately detailed ownership history (available to view on file) details some of the fascinating characters drawn to the Bentley over the years. Among them was sixth owner John Hyrne Tucker Wilson, who bought the car in 1954. A Cambridge rower who won the Boat Race three consecutive times between 1934 and 1936 in addition to winning Olympic gold, he would go on to serve in the Sudan Political Service, where he survived a dramatic spear attack in 1942. Its eighth owner, Robin Coombs, who acquired the car in 1955, also served during the war, crash landing his Blenheim bomber on the island of Alymlos in Greece in 1941. By 1965 the Bentley had entered the care of its 12th owners, Hugh Swain and his wife Annabelle, whose father, journalistic giant John Bolster, served as Technical Editor for The Autocar. By 1990 the car belonged to Graham Jones, in whose care it was rebuilt with a supercharger, a “D”-type gearbox, and an Arley-built Le Mans Tourer body on its original chassis; it would subsequently be finished to concours standard by a later owner.

The current owner fulfilled a lifelong ambition to own a supercharged Bentley when he bought the car in 2006, breathing new life into the historic machine by starting a prolific journey on road and track with the car. Campaigned ceaselessly everywhere from Brooklands and Silverstone to Le Mans and Angoulême, chassis DS3573 became one of the quickest and most accomplished Bentleys on the pre-war grid. Entered in more than 100 races throughout Europe, it has been campaigned at Le Mans no fewer than eight times, and been invited and raced at the Goodwood Revival on several occasions. In 2012 it was raced by five-times Le Mans winner Derek Bell, and in 2019 it fulfilled another landmark by becoming the first supercharged Bentley in history to win an international race meeting as it stormed to victory in the Goodwood Revival’s Brooklands Trophy.

Despite being capable of reaching a scarcely believable 132 mph (demonstrated on many occasions by the current owner along the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans), it’s the car’s character, versatility and practicality that have proved the biggest draw. With rugged mechanical components designed to endure the punishment of 24-hour races and prodigious torque from the blown 4 ½-Litre, the Bentley is a superb tow vehicle and in 2017 was used to trailer a Porsche 962 from London to Angoulême and later, at the factory’s request, a modern works GT car. Warmly welcomed at the best events, it cut up the stubble with the Benjafields Racing Club in 2014, and on countless occasions has even been used for family holidays to destinations as far flung as Italy.

With an impeccably documented history, a top tier rebuild featuring a genuine Speed Six rear axle, and a WO gearbox, not to mention an enviable race record, chassis DS3573 is without a doubt become one of the most celebrated pre-war Bentleys. But to look to the past or count rivets somewhat missed the point of this magnificent machine. A vintage Bentley is not only a golden ticket to the world’s best events, it is also a member of the family that opens the door to adventure. Whether thundering along Goodwood’s Lavant Straight, cruising to the south of France, or simply burbling to the local pub and at a fraction of the value of a Factory delivered ‘Blower’, chassis DS3573 is a car that will take you places in great style, sound and (if required) speed.