The ex W.B. Bummer Scott Team Car specification
1929 Bentley 4 1/2 litre Le Mans Sports Four Seater
Coachwork by Vanden Plas
Registration no. UU 5580
Chassis no. NX 3451
Engine no. XF 3507
Young William Berkley Bummer Scott came from a privileged family. Father was a judge and home was Calgary Castle in Scotland. At Fettes he was captain of cricket, he earned a rugger Blue at Cambridge University, was selected to play in a Scottish Rugby Trial and won the Scottish Squash Championship. An early interest in motorcycles nurtured his mechanical interests and soon after he was able to drive he acquired his first racing car, a 5 litre Indianapolis Sunbeam, surely a baptism of fire. This was to be followed by a remarkable sequence of truly historic and significant cars, including a 1924 Grand Prix Sunbeam, the 1927 1 1/2 litre Grand Prix Delage, an Austro-Daimler, Amilcars, the Thomas Special and a number of Bugattis. His wife Jill shared his interest and their passion for racing saw them setting up home at Grasmere, a handsome house at Old Byfleet, a stones throw from the Brooklands Circuit. Scott maintained a shed at Brooklands from which he bought and sold cars and maintained his racing stable.
His first Bentley was a 3-litre Le Mans car, YF 2503, the No.2 car driven by Duller and dErlanger in the 1927 race. Scott was to campaign this car in the 1928 Brooklands Six Hours Race but did not finish. In 1929 Scott, a privileged and favoured customer of Bentley Motors Ltd., ordered his Le Mans specification 4 1/2 litre Bentley. Such cars were built exclusively for the Works Racing Team and a very short list of favoured customers. Only eight Le Mans specification cars were built between 1927 and 1929, four for the Works Le Mans Team and four for private campaigners.
Scott took delivery of his car, a full Works Racing Shop specification model, finished in Parsons Napier Green, in May 1929 and entered UU 5580 for the 1929 Double Twelve Race at Brooklands on 10th/11th May, with wife Jill as co-driver. Davis and Gunter were first Bentley home in the 4 1/2 litre car, No.6, in 2nd position, while the Scotts, presumably familiarising themselves with their new car, came in in 11th place at an average speed of 70.59mph. In the Six Hours Race at Brooklands on 29th June Scott and Patterson were the 3rd Bentley home, finishing in 8th position at an average speed of 69.91mph. Just two weeks later Scott drove the 4 1/2 litre car to Dublin for the Irish Grand Prix in Phoenix Park and, on a blisteringly hot day which created a slippery tarmacadam surface, the race was won by Ivanowski in a supercharged Alfa Romeo with Bentleys taking six of the first eight places, Scott finishing 7th at an average speed of 73.9mph. For the 1929 British Racing Drivers Club 500 Miles Race at Brooklands on 12th October Scott loaned UU 5580 to Tim Rose-Richards and C.W. Turkey Fiennes. Barclay and Clement drove a 4 1/2 litre to 1st place in that race, Davis and Dunfee finished 2nd in a 6 1/2 litre car while Rose-Richards and Fiennes drove to a creditable 5th place at an average speed of 98.8mph. In the Gold Star Race that year UU 5580 averaged an outstanding 107.57mph. The Scott car achieved the most creditable record, completing every race in which it was entered, being driven to and from every circuit and being used as the Scott family road car between races. Rubin wanted to enter UU 5580 in the 1931 Le Mans Race but as Scott was using it as a hack car for the Delage in the French Grand Prix that opportunity was passed by.
The cars subsequent history during the 1930s is not entirely clear although it appears that the car was briefly owned by a J.H.P. Glover, then in 1932 by M.R. Pease of Leyland Motors, Lancashire, and perhaps spent some time in Northern Ireland. In 1937 it was bought by Laurie Dalton, on the recommendation of Johnnie Green, from Ollington Bros showrooms in Great Portland Street. A Daytona model Wolseley Hornet was part-exchanged and at that time UU 5580 was largely to original specification although the original body frame had been re-skinned in aluminium. Dalton was to campaign the car in pre-war years in VSCC. events at Donington and Crystal Palace. It was stored in Norfolk during the war while Dalton served his country and in 1946 passed into the ownership of E.G. Lloyd very briefly then Geoffrey Tew, who owned the car from 1946 to 1951. R.E.B. Williams was to acquire this car following Tews ownership and drove it with great vigour, resulting in an engine change in 1953. UU 5580 is still fitted with the replacement engine although remains of the original engine, NX 3455, are believed to survive in the hands of a Bentley Drivers Club member. The car was owned very briefly by dealer/enthusiast, Leonard Potter, passing to Andrew Darling in Minneapolis in about 1958, the Bentley Drivers Club at that point losing contact with the car for almost 30 years.
In 1987 this significant and historic car returned to the UK, its new owner embarking upon a restoration to bring UU 5580 back as closely as possible to the condition in which W.B. Scott had taken delivery in 1929. Chassis and coachwork were entrusted to David Shaw in Bristol while Brian Morgan was commissioned to rebuild the engine, preparing it as closely as possible to Le Mans specification. The engine rebuild included a new Phoenix counter-balanced crankshaft, new connecting rods and camshaft, rockers, valves, pistons, etc. In addition hardened valve seat inserts were fitted in anticipation of unleaded fuel. The engine was prepared to full race specification with high compression forged Cosworth pistons. Its present performance is testimony to the work carried out. The chassis frame was fully overhauled and re-riveted, the front axle rebuilt, a new 3.3:1 crown wheel and pinion fitted, all brakes re-lined, etc. The original body timbers were repaired as necessary and re-skinned in aluminium. Careful research was carried out to refashion the dashboard as closely as possible to the original, with correct instrumentation, and the interior was reupholstered in dark green hide, the correct pattern Le Mans-style bucket front seats having been fitted. The host of special Works Racing Department fittings include the correct 1929 Le Mans pattern fuel tank, sitting below the rear toolbox, the special oil filler with filling aperture in the nearside bonnet panel, the Enots air pressure pump, etc. The racing D gearbox is a particular delight to use with the single plate Bentley clutch. The fine detail of the restoration is fully documented in the history file accompanying the car. Its new owner used the car extensively through the 1990s and UU 5580 was an invited exhibit at the Bentley Racing Car Review at VSCC.. Silverstone in June 1997.
The car has enjoyed continued enthusiastic use and was invited to the Bentley Team Car gathering at VSCC.. Donington in June 2002. Exhibition there was not exciting enough for its owner who also participated competitively in a scratch race that day. UU 5580 took part in the Phoenix Park 75th Anniversary Race in July 2004, lapping at around 77mph.
Recent work completed includes a radiator rebuild in 2001, a new clutch and clutch stop plate and the brakes have been re-lined. Correct style 21-inch wheels and new old style Blockley tyres are fitted.
UU 5580 features prominently in A Racing History of the Bentley by Darell Berthon, is pictured in Johnnie Greens Bentley Fifty Years of the Marque and there are countless references in B.D.C. reviews. It was selected for illustration, racing at speed in the present ownership, for the front cover of the VSCC 2003 Yearbook. UU 5580, one of an elite few original Factory Le Mans specification 4 1/2 litre Bentleys surviving, is offered with a Swansea V5 registration document, FIA papers and a most comprehensive history file, including copies of original factory records. Its owner enjoyed a recent high-speed drive from Dublin to Silverstone in April and assures us that its performance would indeed have delighted Bummer Scott.
- It has been suggested to us that during Williams' ownership in the 1950s a replacement period Bentley chassis may have been fitted. THe chassis and front axle of this car as presented do however bear the number of 'Bummer' Scott's car, NX 3451.