In 1951, a 4 1⁄2-litre, 4.6 L (4,566 cc/278 cu in) version of the engine was introduced. The increase in displacement was accomplished by increasing the bore from 3 1/2 inch to 3 5/8 inch. The later version is sometimes casually referred to as the “big bore” engine, the earlier version as the “small bore” version. The 4 1/2 L version of the engine is as well equipped with a Vokes 30 (later: Vokes 62) full flow oil filter (some earlier 4 1/4 L cars have since been modified to a full flow filtration system). Bentley Motors lost no time in race-proving its new car. It is believed that the first prototype engine went into the 3-Litre chassis of the 1927 Le Mans practice car. As Bob Gathercole the Godson of W.O. once said, “The use of modern technology where necessary for compatibility with modern traffic is a logical progression that my Godfather W.O.Bentley would certainly have approved of”.
The car on sale today, UR6341, has been designed as an authentic replica similar to UR6571 the Number 4 Team Bentley Blower. The basis was a Bentley R-Type model originally sold by the esteemed Rolls-Royce dealer Rippon Brothers of Huddersfield. The car then found its way to Texas in the United States before being returned to the UK in 2001 when specialist engineer Tony Soames purchased the car and then began the transformation.
The chassis was modified by legendary Bentley specialist Bob Petersen, the Bentley was fitted with a Vanden Plas Le Mans style 4 seater open tourer body with authentic ash frame skinned in aluminium by well regarded coachbuilders and restorers Carrosserie of Barnard Castle, who also designed the pantograph hood and frame and trimmed the tonneau cover and full weather equipment. This fitting tribute stands proudly on 19” spoke wheels manufactured by Petersen fitted with authentic Dunlop Racing tyres. The engine was completely overhauled including new pistons, mains, big-ends crankshaft ground and nitrided with new prop-shaft manufactured for the shortened and lowered racing chassis. The gearbox was stripped and completely overhauled including new shafts, gears and bearings as required with strengthening modifications. A lightweight aluminium cooling system was installed along with a six branch stainless steel competition exhaust system and high-ratio limited slip differential, Lumenition electronic ignition, new 60 amp alternator and hydraulic brakes all round with twin vacuum servo units as in modern single seater racing cars.
This design was fully documented by Tony Soameson of APS Engineering who built the car for himself between 2001 and 2004 regardless of cost. With the beautifully machine turned aluminium dashboard and accurately calibrated instruments the car is designed to be driven and enjoyed on modern roads, not simply to be an ornament. The works completed are supported by bills in the region of £20,000 from Bob Peterson Engineering and a further estimated £50,000 of receipts accompany the car. This Special Bentley is was documented on the cover of one of Ray Roberts “Bentley Specials and Special Bentleys” publications. Ray himself photographed the car when it received an award at the Bentley Drivers’ Club Annual Concours d’Elegance.
Offered with an extensive history file containing original registration documents, all-weather equipment, tools, workshop manual and required servicing schedule, we are sure the lucky new owner will enjoy this splendid motor car as much as the current custodian.