1926 Bentley 3 Litre
- Year of manufacture1926
- Mileage714 mi / 1 150 km
- Car typeOther
- Lot number189
- Exterior colourOther
"Significantly larger and with more power than its direct competitor at the time, the Bugatti, the ‘3 litre’ Bentley went on to win Le Mans in 1924 as a result. The larger engine compensated for the increased weight prompting Ettore Bugatti to call it, with grudging respect, the fastest lorry in the world. Thanks to W.O.’s engineering background; the engine was technically advanced for its time, a production car with four valves per cylinders and an overhead camshaft. Interestingly, just before war broke out, Mercedes-Benz had one of their racing cars on display in the Bentley showroom in London. The car was subsequently confiscated, taken apart and scrutinised. A number of advances were noted such as a cast iron monobloc design and an aluminium camshaft; although difficult to produce, these contributed greatly to durability and set contemporary engineers thinking. As a testament to W.O. Bentley’s individual design skills, many examples of his early vintage models fortunately still exist today sporting a wide range of coach-built bodies. Indeed, originally supplied by Bentley without a body at all, customers could choose from a number of coachbuilders depending on their requirements. At the time, the most desirable was thought to be Gurney Nutting although latterly, tastes changed and many of these exquisitely styled bodies were replaced with more sporty-looking Vanden Plas-style open tourers. It is rare, therefore, to find a real 3-litre Bentley with original Gurney Nutting coachwork in this style.
Originally delivered to Mr. R.S. Ruttledge, little is known of its early history. We do know that this delightful Cricklewood example appears to have been off the road from 1991 until 2009. A sympathetic restoration was then carried out circa 2007/8 and the history file indicates an engine rebuild in 1991. Fewer than 2,000 miles have been covered since hence the four cylinder unit runs extremely well and smoothly. The 93 year old engine is the original unit making this a rare commodity indeed and in addition to the four valves per cylinder and overhead camshaft, all 3 and 4.5 litre Bentleys have dual ignition with two plugs per cylinder, each set of four fired by their own magneto and it should be noted that both here are working well. TW 1385 still has its original type Smiths starter motor and Smiths 5 jet carburettor.
Used regularly yet sparingly, the condition of both the black painted bonnet/wings and fabric rear section are described as superb. Open the driver’s door and it is immediately apparent this car has been restored to a very high standard. The Olive Green leather seats are in excellent order offering a level of comfort seldom found on alternative motorcars at the time.
The dashboard is simple yet informative without being over fussy. Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of the interior is the ample legroom on offer to the driver and occupants; this can only be credited to the excellent team of designers and craftsmen at Gurney Nutting. The Weymann design offered occupants a new technique of body construction giving silence and lightness to the cars. To the rear of the Bentley can be found a touring trunk with four individual suitcases within and the correct fishtail exhaust just below. Illumination is through a lovely set of Lucas ‘King of the Road’ headlamps with a starting handle situated in-between. A radiator-mounted temperature gauge assists the driving experience with twin side-mounted spare wheels found either side with nickel-plated wing mirrors attached. It is good to see a Cricklewood Bentley still on the original and correct size beaded edge wheels and tyres and associated genuine Bentley tools, including the correct BSA open ended spanners, can be found in a running-board mounted tool box. Door handles are nickel plated and the windows have a smooth operation.
Supplied with a V5C registration document bearing the original registration number of TW 1385, this three litre saloon is supplied with some previous MoT test certificates and a collection of invoices. A quintessentially British built motor car such as this, still carrying the original coachwork, is extremely rare and significant interest is expected.