We needed the full length of our special car carpet and both drip trays to cope with the mighty 3-litre Bentley that graced our dining room this month. Unfortunately Des Dillon, the car’s owner, had double booked himself and wasn’t available on the night, but his deputy Mark McKibbin did a sterling job filling us in on the Marque’s amazing history and the background of this particular car.
This particular Bentley was built in 1925 and is one of only 1600 made in 3-litre form. The engine is a 4-cylinder, overhead cam with 4 valves per cylinder. There must be plenty of metal around the bores because the same engine can be taken out to 6 and even 8-litres !
These cars had a very successful racing history, winning the Le Mans 24 Hour five times in the 1920s. Ettore Bugatti was suitably impressed, giving W.O .Bentley the backhanded compliment, “Mr. Bentley builds the worlds’ fastest trucks”. It was also the final model Bentley built before the battling company was taken over by Rolls Royce who believed that the 8-Litre Bentley was a better car than their own offering.
Des bought the car a couple of years ago in Sydney. It’s been an Australian car all its life and once belonged to Douglas Blain, a one-time editor of the UK ‘Car’ magazine. He bought it as it is today, but unfortunately it ran a bearing on the way home so has now had an extensive engine rebuild.
Mark describes the car as a very capable, long distance tourer. It has heavy steering, a heavy gearbox and a ton of classic credibility. We thank Des for making the car available despite his other commitments.
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