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1925 Bentley 3.0-Litre Vanden Plas-style Tourer

Lot Number: 405

1925 Bentley 3.0-Litre Vanden Plas-style Tourer

A genuine, matching numbers, mid-twenties 3-litre with a fascinating history that would be welcome anywhere in the world (and would probably get you there).

  • Sold for: £105,000

LIVE AUCTION: This lot was auctioned on Saturday 31st July, 2021 at 2.00pm BST at The Wing, Silverstone Circuit, NN12 8TN

  • Body Colour

    BODY COLOUR
    Green

  • Drive

    DRIVE
    RHD

  • Registration Number

    REG NUMBER
    HP 2667

SUMMARY

A genuine, matching numbers, mid-twenties 3-litre with a fascinating history that would be welcome anywhere in the world (and would probably get you there).

DESCRIPTION

  • The venerable 3-Litre, 15.9HP, four-seat tourer on offer here was built in April 1925 on a ‘Standard Long’ chassis (#1079)
  • Powered by ‘No.1075’, a 2,996cc SOHC, 4-valve, inline 4-cylinder engine with 2 SU 'Sloper' Carburettors which offered circa 70bhp
  • Clothed from new by HJ Mulliner with their ‘Allweather’ bodywork and finished in ‘Grey and Black’
  • First registered on 9/05/1925 to Guy Dutton. Transferred to Brooklands Aviation at Sywell Aerodrome on 11/05/1935 where it was converted to a Fire Tender
  • Between October 1987 and July 1989, HP 2667 was totally restored and re-bodied in the style of a 1925 Vanden Plas Tourer
  • Now finished in BRG (Napier Green) and Brooklands Green with black wings, running boards and wire wheels
  • On offer today from our vendor, a long-term Rolls-Royce and Bentley enthusiast who is well known by the respective Owner’s and Driver’s Clubs

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 motorsport 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-litre 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. Bentley's four-cylinder 'fixed head' engine incorporated a single overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder and a bore/stroke of 80x149mm. Twin ML magnetos provided the ignition and power was transmitted through a four-speed gearbox with right-hand change. The pressed-steel chassis started off with a wheelbase of 9' 9½" (the 'short standard') 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 four-wheel Perrot-type brakes were introduced.

The venerable 3-Litre, 15.9HP, four-seat tourer on offer here was built in April 1925 on a ‘Standard Long’ chassis (#1079) and powered by ‘No.1075’, a 2,996cc SOHC, 4-valve, inline 4-cylinder engine with 2 SU 'Sloper' Carburettors which offered circa 70bhp at 3,500rpm. It was fitted with a 4-Speed Close-Ratio Gearbox, Front and Rear Leaf Spring Suspension and 4-Wheel Drum Brakes with ‘Perrot Shaft’ actuation, all rather advanced for 1925. It was clothed from new by HJ Mulliner with their ‘Allweather’ bodywork and finished in ‘Grey and Black’, normal for the period as green was very seldom used at the time.

As far as we can see, HP 2667 was first registered on 9/05/1925 to Guy Dutton who used it until it was transferred to Brooklands Aviation at Sywell Aerodrome on 11/05/1935 where it appears to have been converted to a Fire Tender. There is a photograph of the car in Bill Boddy’s ‘Brooklands Volume 3’ showing the car as a fire tender and captioned “Put into Service, 1935”. The Log Book has been altered to read “Class: Fire Engine”.

The car’s second ‘Buff Log Book’ shows that HP 2667 was acquired by Bert Middlemas T/as Hornby Park Motors on 21/07/1953 prior to passing through the hands of a couple of more dealers before settling down with William Deane in Chester in July 1956. A Mr Henry Pasco from Wellesbourne is the next name on the list (21/01/1964) in a new ‘Green’ logbook followed swiftly by Reginald Booth (18/02/1964) and then John Henry Davidson (1/02/1965) who obviously enjoyed the Bentley as he was to retain it until Terence Dickie acquired it on 19/09/1983.

It’s not clear at what point the ‘Fire Tender’ bodywork was replaced, if at all, but from the stack of numbered invoices from GA Huckle of Bedford, ‘Vintage Car Restorations and Rebuilds’, we can establish that between October 1987 and July 1989, HP 2667 was totally restored and re-bodied in the style of the 1925 Vanden Plas Tourer. The VP Tourer was a much more attractive body and totally in keeping as Chassis Number#1080, the immediately following chassis in 1925, was in fact bodied from new as a Vanden Plas Four-Seat Tourer. The invoices from GA Huckle detail all the work that was carried out and indicate that a total of 873 man/hours were charged for and the restoration costs with GA Huckle alone total £36,815.

There is an element of mystery here as there is a DVLC document indicating that the car became the property of Per Guerdrum in Sanvika in Norway on 4/04/1989, whilst still being restored by GA Huckle and a further couple of service invoices from Huckle in Bedford are dated June 1990 and January 1992, perhaps the Norwegian owner had it shipped back to the UK for specialist attention. The GB badge at the rear of the Bentley indicated that it lived in Norway at some point.

Post-restoration invoices dated 1993 from Arley Coachbuilding, John Hunt Engineering, the Bentley Drivers Club and DH Day are all addressed to Alan Whitehead from Bolton, who presumably owned the car at the time, but one thing is certain, the Bentley was sold to Raymond Lippiatt on 02/06/2003 by Terence Dickie who according to the V5 had owned it since 19/09/1983. Part of the fun of owning really old cars is the research.

PE 2667 is on offer today from Raymond Lippiatt, a long-term Rolls-Royce and Bentley enthusiast who is well known by the respective Owner’s and Driver’s Clubs and who has has also entrusted us with the sale of his unique Phantom 1. We understand that Raymond believes in using his cars and from the file we can see that the Bentley was most recently taxed last September (2020). There is a quote on file dated 16/03/1995 for a full engine rebuild (£6,450) which, we imagine, was carried out and an invoice from Elmdown Engineering dated November 2006 that covers 15 hours of maintenance and servicing.

The car itself looks absolutely splendid, standing all-square and proud and belying the thirty years since its restoration. It’s finished in BRG (Napier Green) and Brooklands Green with black wings, running boards and wire wheels. The black leather interior is delightfully patinated and looks exactly as a well-used and well-loved Vintage (pre-1931) Bentley should look and the car’s period appearance is complemented by its original toolbox, spares chest, Pratts petrol can and hessian-covered suitcase. The badge bar on the front displays badges from the AA, VSCC, Bentley Driver’s Club and BARC Brooklands with the Norwegian GB plate at the rear. The engine bay is really smart and has obviously been looked after by its last owner as a matter of pride.

#1079 is not a ‘trailer queen’ or a Concours-contender bodied with spurious Le Mans 4½-litre ‘Blower’ blower bodywork but a genuine, matching numbers, mid-twenties 3-litre with a fascinating history that would be welcome anywhere in the world (and would probably get you there).

The history file contains two ‘Buff’ Logbooks (1925-’37 and 1953-’63), a ‘Green’ Logbook (1964-’74), a price list from D.H.Day- Replacement Vintage Bentley Parts, an original “Three-Litre Bentley Instruction Book”, 1987-89 Restoration invoices from GA Huckle (£36,815) and further service invoices (£1,580), further invoices from 1993, an invoice from Elmdown Engineering for a general service and maintenance dated 8/11/2006 @ 5,223 miles totalling £1,504.86, older MOTs, SORN docs and V5s, and a note from Ray Lippiatt explaining some of the early history.

David E. Davis Jr.’s words are as true now as when first quoted in 1991, in Forbes Magazine, “What is the highest tribute one can pay a noble, inspired, classic automobile? Simple, old boy, drive the bloody thing.” That was never more accurate than when describing this venerable ‘W.O.’ Bentley.

SPECIFICATION

Lot Number
405
Make
BENTLEY
Model
MULLINER
Registration Number
HP 2667
Chassis Number
1079
Engine Number
1072
Transmission
4 Speed
Body Colour
Green

CONSIGNOR

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