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Car of the Month - January 2001
Bentley 3 Litre 1924, #1010
4-Seater Open Tourer

The engine's specification simply reads: 4 cylinders, firing order 1, 3, 4, 2; bore x stroke 80 x 149mm, cubic capacity 2,996ccm, compression ratio 4.3:1, brake horsepower 70. However the engine did more than accelerate the Bentley 3 Litre, the first model of the new marque, in an unmistakably sportive manner - via outstandingly fine results in a variety of competitive events, it smoothed the company's path into a successful future.

The company's founder Walter Owen Bentley as regards the engine had decided upon the remarkable feature of four tulip-shaped valves per cylinder (two inlet and two exhaust) to succeed in this engine ranking head and shoulders above the power output of those from other manufacturers. The power was transmitted to the rear wheels via a 4-speed gearbox; that was a "crash-box" in the true sense of the word but an indestructible one. The powertrain was fitted into a massive chassis. During the early years, when W.O. Bentley was engaged at first on the design and later on the development of his sporting motor cars his most important associate was F.T. Burgess, who had designed the Humber Tourist Trophy cars during the era prior to the Great War and driven one of them in the Island. Taking this into consideration it doesn't surprise that Bentley 3 Litre models were highly successful in competition and this reflected in the company's prestige. The marque, that had hitherto only achieved a name at home gained international recognition once a Bentley 3 Litre in the 24-Hour Race at Le Mans crossed the finishing-line as victor.

Clearly designed along the lines of the famous Le Mans Open Tourer is the body of the Bentley 3 Litre, Chassis-No. #1010. Originally delivered with Weymann Saloon coachwork by Freestone & Webb this car during a chequered career was altered into a 2-Seater and then became a Pick-Up. The dark era ended with a most careful rebuilt as a 4-Seater Open Tourer with the chassis slightly modified. The original engine no. 1006 had been substituted by engine no. 162 (that came from chassis no. 168which still exists with engine no. 1235 under its bonnet). With the appropriate standard reference books, for example those compiled by Michael Hay, specifications and history of almost every Bentley motor car from the period when the company was independent can be checked in detail.
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