Oct 2, 2017: Sold for US$ 199,999
COLLECTORS MOTORCARS AND AUTOMOBILIA
Philadelphia Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
2 Oct 2017, 14:00 EDT
Over 30 years in present ownership
1924 Bentley 3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER
Coachwork believed to be by Morgan and Co. (See Text.)
Chassis no. 897/780 (See Text)
Former UK Registration no. XX 8280
Engine no. 894
US$ 250,000 - 350,000
2,996cc SOHC Inline 4-Cylinder Engine - 4 Overhead Valves Per Cylinder
2 SU 'Sloper' Carburetors, 80bhp at 3,500rpm
4-Speed Close-ratio A Type Gearbox
Front and Rear Leaf Spring Suspension
Four-Wheel Drum Brakes with Perrot shaft actuation
*Over 30 years in present ownership
*Genuine Speed Model.
*Great looking Vintage Bentley, eligible for many road touring events
*Offered with Books and Tools
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
Factory records show that 3-liter Speed Model chassis number 897 was completed in December 1924. It was dispatched to Morgan and Co. for coachwork and fitted with a two seater with double dickey seat. Notable details from records are that the car was fitted with Carl Zeiss headlamps, and with battleship style scuttle vents. It is indicated that the car was delivered to its first owner, The Prince of Liechtenstein, in December 1924. The Prince kept the car until 1928 when it passed to Major J.H. van Haeften, who retained it until 1935 when it passed to a Mr. R.C. Powell who in turn kept it until 1939. Along this pre-war chapter, it is recorded with an extensive factory maintenance history. Through 1938 various parts were sent to garages for the car's upkeep, the gearbox and rear axle units were also replaced by the works.
It is believed at some point in the early 1930s the Morgan body was modified from its two-seater guise into its current tourer form. Consultation by Bonhams with various Vintage Bentley experts, together with our own inspection of it today, suggest that the windscreen, scuttle, cowl vents, and possibly the front bench seat are from the original body. The back section being converted to a tourer to perhaps make the car more practical for longer distances.
At some point in time during the early postwar period, Chassis 897 was rebuilt on to the chassis frame of an early 3-liter speed model, chassis number 780. Chassis 780 was a 3-liter Speed Model, first owned by Bentley Boy, and Le Mans winner, Commander Glen Kidston. Kidston, a famous submariner as well as, aviator, and racing driver is on record as having used #780 for fast commut-ing to and from the Admiralty. This car was most likely dismantled for spares during the war. The frame of the car and possibly the front axle were used in a rebuild of 897. In the immediate post war years with few new cars available for home delivery, it was common practice with Bentleys to take two non-runners and make one running car. It seems that it was during this rebuild that chassis 780 frame number on the front cross member was re-stamped 897, presumably to assist in registra-tion purposes. The original #780 remains to the modern digital camera in the front left chassis dumb iron, and thus is a connection to one of the most charismatic of the famous Bentley Boys.
The car was actively used at various BDC events throughout the 1950s and 1960s. At this time it was in the ownership of known BDC member Mr. M.S. Gooding. In the late 1960s the car was pur-chased by an American enthusiast, a Mr. Teryle who imported the car to the United States.
In 1982, the seller found the car advertised in a BDC review, located in Upstate NY. At the time the car was running and driving, but did require an engine rebuild. This rebuild was carried out by Oshkosh Wisconsin engine builder Arden Hjelle, a noted machinist and builder of aircraft for the renowned Experimental Aircraft Association. Over the next 30 years the consigner has maintained and kept the car in his small stable of Rolls Royce and Bentley motor cars. It is a veteran of numer-ous Bentley tours.
The car today is in remarkable unmolested condition. Finished in eggshell black with red wheels and upholstery, and with black top and side curtains, it has a great deal of charm. The body is still covered in original rexine fabric that is believed to be dated from the 1930s. It was reupholstered in the 1970s and while investigating the coachwork it was revealed that some of 1930s dark red up-holstery is still behind the current side panels. On a recent mechanical inspection by the Bonhams Specialist team, it was confirmed that the engine, steering box, gearbox and rear axle where all from 897. The car also retains many of the original speed model components that often go missing, such as the original sloper side draft S.U. carburetors, fuel filter, and generator cutout.
The Bentley Drivers Club was founded in 1936 due to the passion and enthusiasm of vintage Bentley owners. The vintage Bentley has represented for nigh on a century, the archtypical Bulldog Drummond English sports car. Through wars, vagaries in the world economy, and changes in fashion it has remained and will continue to remain an enthusiast's dream machine Enshrined in the legends of motor racing with, Birkin, Barnato, Dunfee, and Kidston, and in life and culture with the likes of Lauren and Bond, these cars have an ever lasting attraction. This one with its romantic connections to royalty and to one of the great characters, drivers and sportsmen of the prewar era is epitomises that spirit.