1925 BENTLEY 3 Litre Short Chassis Speed Model 4 cylinder 3 Litre 4 Speed Manual.
Original Tourer by Vanden Plas
This striking motor car is an extremely rare example of a Bentley 3 litre Short Chassis Speed Model in that it is about as original as you are likely to find. It carries its original chassis, engine and body all numbered and corresponding to those numbers recorded when the car built.
In the 1970s the car was treated to an exacting restoration by Tony Townsend at Elmdown Engineering who were at the time one of the leading Vintage Bentley specialists.
In the 1980's the car was acquired by a Chartered engineer who set about researching the cars history and provenance. It took years of painstaking work. During his ownership the car was treated to a meticulous maintenance schedule to keep pace with its busy life. It was no idle museum piece but actively campaigned in rallies and vintage meets as well as being everyday transport at times.
More recently it has been part of a small collection of vintage cars highly prized for their originality. It is currently in wonderful condition both cosmetically and mechanically. It is a superb driving car and has been enjoyed both here and abroad.
This specification with this history and provenance makes this one of the most desirable 3 litre Bentleys you could wish for.
W.O. Bentley unveiled his new 3 Litre car at the 1919 Olympia Motor Exhibition. Bentley's 4-cylinder 'fixed head' engine incorporated a single overhead camshaft, 4-valves per cylinder and a bore/stroke of 80x149mm. Twin ML magnetos provided the ignition, and power was transmitted via a 4-speed gearbox with right-hand change. The pressed-steel chassis started off with a wheelbase of 9' 9½" then adopted dimensions of 10' 10" ('Standard Long') in 1923, the shorter frame being reserved for the TT Replica and subsequent Speed Model. Rear wheel brakes only were employed up to 1924 when 4-wheel Perrot-types were introduced.
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 'sloper' 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 3 Litre was by far the most popular model of Vintage Bentley production, with some 1613 chassis built, however of those only a third were the short chassis Speed models. By the very nature of their racing association the privateers that bought these cars in the Roaring Twenties were keen to push these cars to their limits. A cursory glance through a few of the period service records show many returns to the factory following accident damage, making the actual survival statistics for all 3 Litres less than half of the original production. Because these cars were rather reliable work horses, it was common for them to continue their lives in more rudimentary work, particularly during the war; in the UK many turned into farm 'hacks', shooting brakes, or tow vehicles. For all of these reasons, the actual number of surviving examples of what is undeniably the iconic Vintage Bentley look is rather modest, and they rarely appear for sale.