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4½ Litre Maythorn Saloon
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  Bentley 4½ Litre Maythorn Saloon      

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1930
Designed by:Maythorn
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 16, 2019
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAs a more powerful replacement of the original 3 Litre model, Bentley started production of the new 4½ Litre in 1927. It was developed with an eye on keeping Bentley competitive both on the road and track with the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bugatti. Despite its relatively limited displacement, the 3 Litre had already shown its worth at Le Mans, where it won the second ever running of the 24 Hours, in 1924.

Like the first series produced Bentley it replaced, the 4½ Litre was powered by a four cylinder engine. This, however, was not simply an enlarged version of the 3 Litre engine but instead a derivative of the newly developed 6½ Litre six-cylinder unit with two cylinders cut off. Carrying over the 100 mm bore and very long 140 mm stroke of the six-cylinder engine, Bentley's new 'four' actually displaced 4,398 cc.

What was shared by all Bentley engines of the era was the sophisticated valve-train, which featured four valves per cylinder, actuated by a single overhead camshaft. As before, the camshaft was driven by bevel gears. Breathing through a pair of SU carburettors, the engine produced 110 hp in road trim and over 130 hp in competition configuration. It was mated to a four-speed gearbox.

The heavy engine was mounted in a sturdy steel ladder frame with several cross braces that added rigidity. Suspension was by semi-elliptic leaf springs on all four corners. Stopping power was provided by drum brakes that were operated by rod. The drums were finned to provided improved cooling. Usually built with a 3,302 mm wheelbase, the 4½ Litre was offered by Bentley as a rolling chassis for specialist companies to body.

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  Article Image gallery (18) XF3520 Specifications