1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058
Lot 19
Long term American ownership, offered from a Private Collection
1923 BENTLEY 3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER
Sold for US$ 451,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058 1923 BENTLEY  3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER  Chassis no. 409 Engine no. SE12Former UK Registration no. XP 8058
1923 BENTLEY 3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER
Coachwork by Chalmer & Hoyer

Chassis no. 409
Engine no. SE12
Former UK Registration no. XP 8058

2,996cc SOHC Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
4 Valves Per Cylinder
80bhp at 3,500rpm
4-Speed Close-ratio Gearbox
Front and Rear Leaf Spring Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes with Perrot shaft actuation


*Original bodied sporting Speed Model Vintage Bentley
*Long term American ownership, offered from a Private Collection
*Completed restored and recently refreshed by D.L. George Coachworks
*Eligible for many road touring events, including North American Vintage Bentley Club



THE BENTLEY 3 LITER

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-liter 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, where Bentleys finished second, fourth, and fifth and took 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. Identified by the Red Label on its radiator, the Speed Model differed by having twin SU carburetors, a higher compression ratio, different camshaft, and the close-ratio A-type gearbox, the latter being standard equipment prior to 1927 when the C-type gearbox was adopted. These engine changes increased maximum power from the standard 70 to 80bhp and raised the top speed to an impressive 90mph. Other enhancements included the larger (11-gallon) fuel tank and (usually) Andre Hartford shock absorbers.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

Vintage Bentley motorcars are fortunately well charted, perhaps helpfully because their charismatic style and 'boy racer' looks rest in people's minds so that they can fondly record tales of former ownership, but for the more technically minded those souvenirs are supported by the existence of Bentley's own delivery and service records from their early days and sometimes throughout the pre-war era.

In the case of chassis 409, almost all of its life is recorded. We know that it was delivered new in November 1923 and that the original owner was one T. Bennett. As delivered it was fitted with the very coachwork that it still wears today, a skimpy touring body by Chalmer and Hoyer Ltd. a London based coachbuilder operational in the early to mid 1920s only. In all they would provide coachwork for a mere 6 Bentleys in this time, all of which were 3 liters, not all were touring cars such as this, and this may well be the sole surviving example in this form.

As recorded in a feature in the Bentley Drivers Club Bulletin, 409 passed to the grandfather of Ruaraidh Hilleary in 1926 and was kept by him for a year, photos of which during his family's ownership depict the car as it is today, albeit with a side mounted spare tire and long fenders. From him it passed to C R Henderson Jessop, then moved to Ireland to become the property of Trevor McCella of Belfast, before migrating into Scottish ownership with the Hon. J. D. Carngie (perhaps Carnegie) in Angus, Scotland. As late as 1937 on factory service records parts were sent to a garage in Antibes in the South of France, perhaps while the car was being used on tour, and by 1938 more parts were supplied to a London garage. Somewhere along this journey and clearly quit early on in its life like so many of these cars it received a braked front axle.

It is understood that by the time that World War II arrived the car was the property of John Brocklebank, a shareholder in Cunard Steamship Lines, which is said to account for the next intriguing part of its history in which its 3 liter motor was replaced by a Perkins P6 diesel unit, it is suggested to take advantage of the availability of diesel to Mr. Brocklebank from his shipping connection, being far preferable to the narrow supply of petrol in the post war rationing era and ensuring that he could use his treasured Bentley.

The Bentley remained in Brocklebank's possession until it was purchased from him by a friend Daniel Murphy later of Gladwyne, Pennslvania, who would in turn keep the car for an incredible 39 years.

At that point it was pried from him by noted Rolls-Royce and Bentley collector, Bill Ford, who would subsequently embark on a thorough restoration at the hands of noted restorer David George of Cochranville, Pennsylvania. Over the course of its near 4 decades of ownership the car had seen modest use, and was still under diesel power, so the first task was to source a correct engine. George was able to find a 3 Liter power unit through the Bentley Drivers Club in the U.K. the motor proving to be one of the original 'Service Engine' replacement units that the Cricklewood works would have exchanged with owners while they worked on client's cars, this being designated 'S.E. 12'. Seemingly the twelfth of those so used, the is a late, large sump unit which as part of the restoration was rebuilt to Speed Model specifications.

Another earlier modification had been to enlarge the main passenger side door, using David George's team's considerable resources and skill in coachwork, this aspect was faithfully returned to its small proportions. Over the course of three years, the car was completely refurbished, with new upholstery trimmed by noted craftsman Nelson Coe then in George's employ, and then the whole car repainted in a deep 'British Racing Green' hue.

The finished car would make its debut at the North American Vintage Bentley meet at Old Deerfield, Massachusetts, where its immaculate presentation was probably a little worn in at the end of the 600 miles of the tour, but that was precisely what Bill Ford wanted, a good looking nicely presented, usable car.
Some 15 years ago, the current owner acquired the Bentley from Ford, and has kept it with similar aims in mind, enjoying it yet maintaining its highly presentable order. Testament to its usability it was run on the Colorado Grand in 2013.

Over the course of his ownership, further research has been carried out and a series of period images of the car in use in the UK emerged, reconfirming the authenticity of its original and extremely rare Chalmer and Hoyer open touring coachwork.

Today, the car has once again benefited from a freshening at D.L. George coachworks and comes to the auction having recently charmed spectators at the Elegance at Hershey back in June. During this weekend's festivities the cataloger had the opportunity to exercise the Bentley and found it to be driving well and offering a very comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Footnotes

  • Please note that this vehicle is titled as a 1924.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that although the title for this vehicle says 36,448 actual mileage; the odometer for this car reads 7078, which is not actual.
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