50 years in the current ownership 1925 Bentley 3-Litre Shooting Brake Registration no. XY 4944 Chassis no. 915 Engine no. 923
With characteristic humility 'W O' was constantly amazed by the enthusiasm of later generations for the products of Bentley Motors Limited, and it is testimony to the soundness of his engineering design skills that so many of his products have survived. From the humblest of beginnings in a mews garage off Baker Street, London in 1919 the Bentley rapidly achieved fame as an exciting fast touring car, well able to compete with the best of European and American sports cars in the tough world of motor sport in the 1920s. Bentley's domination at Le Mans in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930 is legendary, and one can only admire the Herculean efforts of such giants as Woolf Barnato, Jack Dunfee, Tim Birkin and Sammy Davis, consistently wrestling the British Racing Green sports cars to victory. W O Bentley proudly unveiled the new 3-litre car bearing his name on Stand 126 at the 1919 Olympia Motor Exhibition, the prototype engine having fired up for the first time just a few weeks earlier. In only mildly developed form, this was the model which was to become a legend in motor racing history and which, with its leather-strapped bonnet, classical radiator design and British Racing Green livery, has become the archetypal Vintage sports car. Early success in the 1922 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, when Bentleys finished second, fourth, and fifth to take the Team Prize, led to the introduction of the TT Replica (later known as the Speed Model) on the existing 9' 9½" wheelbase, short standard chassis. An increase in compression ratio increased maximum power from the standard 70 to 80bhp and raised top speed to 90mph. Michael Hay's authoritative work, Bentley, The Vintage Years, records the fact that '915' was completed on the long standard chassis with the A-type gearbox and 'allweather' coachwork by James Young. Registered 'XY 4944', the Bentley was first owned by one J H Clay and in June 1927 returned to the factory to be fitted with the B-type gearbox. It is not known when the current timber framed and panelled shooting brake body was fitted. The car was purchased by the current vendor in 1961 and last used in 2006. Refurbishment carried out since acquisition has included an engine rebuild (circa 1970) retaining the original standard-size cylinders and pistons; overhauling the wheel hubs and road springs; and various remedial works to the wooden bodywork, which now requires further attention. Described as in generally good mechanical condition, with fair/good body, paint and interior, this unique and most practical Bentley 3-Litre is offered with old-style logbook and Swansea V5 registration document.