1928 Bentley Speed Six Sports Two-Seater
Registration no. UC 4444
Chassis no. BR 2359
Engine no. BR 2356
It is extraordinarily difficult to explain in words or writing the exact fascination of a big, fast car of the type so ably represented by the big Bentley speed model. The Autocar on the Bentley Speed Six, September 5th, 1930.
Although the 61/2-Litre had been conceived as a touring car to compete with Rolls-Royces New Phantom, in Speed Six form it proved admirably suited to competition: in 1929 Barnato/Birkins Speed Six won the Le Mans 24 Hour Race ahead of a trio of 41/2-Litre Bentleys and Barnato/Kidston repeated the feat in the following years Grand Prix dEndurance at the Sarthe circuit ahead of similarly-mounted Clement/Watney. Small wonder then, that the fast yet refined Speed Six was W O Bentleys favourite car.
Walter Owen Bentley established Bentley Motors in 1919 though deliveries, from the north London suburb of Cricklewood, did not begin until 1921. The first model, a 3-litre car, was powered by a four-cylinder, single overhead camshaft engine with four valves per cylinder. It was a mechanical theme perpetuated in the greatly refined six-cylinder 6½-Litre model of 1926. The need for a larger car had resulted from Bentleys customers specifying bodies of a size not envisaged when the 3-Litre was conceived, a factor only partially addressed by the introduction of the Long Standard chassis in 1923. The 6½-Litre was produced for four years, during which time 544 chassis were completed, 182 of these to Speed Six specification. The chassis of this example was later shortened to racing dimensions while its engine has been up-rated to desirable Speed Six specification.
According to Michael Hays authoritative work Bentley The Vintage Years, this 6½-Litre car was originally fitted with Weymann saloon coachwork by H J Mulliner and delivered to its first owner, Dudley Ray Johnson, in February 1928. Hay states that, at some stage, this car may have been fitted with engine BA 2589, ex-chassis BA 2587. The remainder of its early history is unknown, but in the 1960s BR 2359 had a four-seater touring body and was bought in this form by Ferrari enthusiast Richard Coulton, who had it very professionally transformed into a sprint and circuit car in 1968. The work, undertaken by Bentley specialist Richard Moss, included shortening the chassis from its original 12ft 6ins wheelbase to the 11ft of the Le Mans cars and constructing an open two-seater body with distinctive rounded tail and cycle wings. At the same time the brakes were converted to hydraulic operation.
The car was subsequently bought by Peter Agg, who kept it for around six years in the 1970s, and acquired by the previous owner in 1981. The current owner purchased the car at Brooks Sale at Olympia, London on 19th November 1990. At that time the car had recently undergone a £30,000-plus rebuild by Moss that included up-rating the engine to potent Speed Six specifications and installing a new crankshaft. While in the vendors hands the car has continued to be looked after by Richard Moss, returning to him in 1991, 1997 and, most recently, in November 2005 when the braking system was stripped and overhauled and other remedial works carried out at a cost of £6,948. Invoices for this and all previous work by Richard Moss are included with the car. Finished in British Racing Green, this exciting vintage Bentley sports car is offered with current SORN certificate and Swansea V5 registration document.