The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)

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Lot 217
The Stan West Collection
1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer
Registration no. RR 4634 Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)

Sold for £ 391,000 (US$ 537,689) inc. premium
The Stan West Collection
1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer
Registration no. RR 4634
Chassis no. WB2567
Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
*One of 242 erected on the long ST3 (12' 6") chassis
*Restored by Tony Townshend in the 1970s
*Acquired for the Stan West Collection in 2012
*Maintained by P&A Wood and Jonathan Wood

Footnotes

  • Although the 6½-Litre had been conceived as a touring car to compete with Rolls-Royce's New Phantom, in Speed Six form it proved admirably suited to competition: in 1929 Barnato/Birkin's Speed Six won the Le Mans 24 Hour Race ahead of a trio of 4½-Litre Bentleys and Barnato/Kidston repeated the feat in the following year's Grand Prix d'Endurance at the Sarthe circuit ahead of similarly-mounted Clement/Watney. Small wonder then, that the fast yet refined 6½-Litre Speed Six was W O Bentley's favourite car.

    Walter Owen Bentley established Bentley Motors in 1919 in the North London suburb of Cricklewood, though deliveries did not begin until 1921. The first model, a 3-litre car, was powered by a four-cylinder, single-overhead-camshaft, fixed-head 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 Bentley's 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. Known as the 'Silent Six', the 6½-Litre was produced for four years, during which time 544 chassis were completed, the standard/Speed Six split being 362/182.

    According to Dr Clare Hay's authoritative work, Bentley: The Vintage Years (second edition, 1997) this particular 6½-Litre, chassis number 'WB2567', is one of 242 erected on the long ST3 (12' 6") frame favoured by the majority of customers. Registered 'RR 4634', it was originally bodied as a saloon by Gurney Nutting and first owned by one A Spencer. The car left the factory fitted with engine number 'WB2572' but by 1930 it had been changed under warranty. Against the entry for 'WB2567', Hay records that it was a 'works breakdown', subsequently re-bodied more than once.

    In December 1969 the Bentley was acquired by William A Liddell, by which time the wheelbase appears to have been shortened from its original 12' 6" to 12' 2". Mr Liddell despatched 'WB2567' to renowned marque specialist Tony Townshend where it was restored and re-bodied in the style of a Speed Six by Park Ward. The accompanying old-style logbook (issued 1969) lists the car as a saloon finished in blue, the entry being annotated 'open tourer' and 'red' (changes stamped in 1974). A few years later, the engine was changed again when the current unit, 'WB2554', from the same-numbered chassis, was installed. Since then the engine has been up-rated with triple SU carburettors.

    In 1980 the Bentley was purchased by successful historic racer Steve O'Rourke, better known as manager of progressive rock band Pink Floyd. Mr O'Rourke sent 'WB2567' back Tony Townshend for the present Vanden Plas-style Le Mans replica body to be installed. In April 1984 Mr O'Rourke sold the Bentley, which passed into the ownership of Mr N A Eastaway of Bishop's Stortford, during whose stewardship the car was maintained by P&A Wood and Jonathan Wood. Since its acquisition for the Stan West Collection in June 2012, the Bentley has continued to be maintained by P&A Wood, whose bills and those of Jonathan Wood are on file.

    Finished in traditional British Racing Green with matching leather interior, this most imposing 6½-Litre would enhance any private collection and is, of course, eligible for the many prestigious tours and other events organised by the Bentley Drivers' Club.
Contacts
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1926 Bentley 6½-Litre 'Le Mans' Tourer  Chassis no. WB2567 Engine no. WB2554 (see text)
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