Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

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Bentley – 3 Litre (1927)


Vehicle Type:
Open Tourer
Coach Builder:
Van den Plas
Inline 4
Engine CC:
Michael Dacre (UK)

Class A


Bentley - 3 Litre
Class A06

Le Mans was the race that sealed Bentley’s enviable reputation. Bentley won the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans held in France no less than five times. The very first race was held at ‘La Sarthe’ in 1923 and the sole Bentley campaigning crossed the finishing line in fourth place. Incidentally, this was an enormous surprise to W.O. Bentley, who originally said of the race: “No car would last 24 hours…”. One year later in 1924, Bentley took the chequered flag in first place with the 3 Litre Model driven by Captain John Duff and test driver Frank Clement. This was a monumental success for a marque that had only been established five years previously. And Bentley went on to turn in a wonderful winning streak, securing victory four consecutive times at Le Mans in the years 1927 to 1930. This race-tuned 3 Litre Speed Model is the only surviving Le Mans Bentley entered by the works to have campaigned at Le Mans in 1927. George Duller and Baron d’Erlanger were at the wheel of the speedster, which landed in a notorious pile-up at White House Corner. The crash occurred in the early part of the race and the entire Bentley team driving two 3 Litre cars and a 4½ Litre were almost obliterated when they collided at 22:00 in the hours of darkness. This 3 Litre was beyond repair at the time and had to retire from the race. However, Sammy Davis and Dudley Benjafield drove the other 3 Litre to triumph in this toughest of tough endurance races. Their tremendous feat generated public acclaim across the world with the exciting back story followed by a marvellous act of derring-do. After Le Mans, this car was repaired at Bentley’s factory in Cricklewood and was subsequently raced at Brooklands in 1928 and then throughout the 1930s piloted by privateer drivers. In modern times, the car underwent a thorough ten-year restoration returning it to the original 1927 Le Mans configuration. It features the original dashboard, racing instruments and the authentic battle-worn fuel tank.

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