Lot 215: 1931 Bentley 4/8-Litre Four Seater Le Mans Replica
Bentley’s domination at Le Mans in the 1920’s is the stuff of legends with victories in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930, their 3-litre, 4 ˝-litre and 6 ˝-litre cars all playing their part in this spectacular success. One can only admire the Herculean efforts of such motor racing titans as Davis, Barnato, Dunfee, Birkin, Rubin, Kensington-Moir and others who consistently hurled the British Racing Green sports cars to victory and race success. Although the 4-litre and 8-litre cars were designed more for comfortable high-speed motoring than for competition, their design and specification was nevertheless race-bred and in more recent years the 8-litre engine has been used to exceptionally good effect in vintage and historic race cars. This superbly created fast touring car, built in the evocative style of the Bentley Le Mans racing cars, is constructed on an original 4-litre Bentley chassis, one of just 50 4-litre chassis ever built, this one being on the short 11’ 2” wheelbase. This chassis originally carried Gurney Nutting saloon coachwork and was delivered new to its first owner, a Mrs Murphy, in July 1931. In more recent years the car has been upgraded dramatically with the installation of an 8-litre engine, replicating as accurately as possible the engine from Bentley Motors largest engined cars which marked their ‘swansong’. The transformation from 4-litre saloon to 8-litre Le Mans Replica touring car was we understand carried out by specialist Bentley restorers in East Anglia and it is believed that the body frame was constructed by H&H Coachbuilders in the Home Counties, all work being carried out to exacting standards by professionals in this field. The green, fabric-covered coachwork, built using traditional vintage methods, is furnished with green leather bucket seats to the front with bench seat to the rear and has green leather bound carpets. The dramatic, engine-turned dashboard features an 8-day clock, a 0-120mph AT speedometer and a 0-4,400rpm rev counter. Fittings throughout are chromium plated although the radiator we feel has a nickel finish. In true Le Mans style the car has an outside handbrake lever and features the Le Mans rear fuel tank with quick-release filler cap and stone guard. Further driving equipment includes the stone guard-protected Carl Zeiss headlamps, a nearside mounted spare wheel, Lucas side lights, oval cast steps featuring the Bentley winged logo, and a fold-flat windscreen with driver and passenger’s aero screens. Other detail incorporated in the painstaking restoration includes cord-bound leaf springs front and rear, broad fishtail exhaust, rear-mounted racing number decal and a Bosch klaxon horn. Twin vertically-mounted SU carburettors fuel the engine with spark provided to the massive 8 litre engine by twin Scintilla magnetos. Weather equipment includes a black duck hood with a one-piece tonneau cover. This car was acquired by its late owner shortly before his death and saw minimal use in his hands. Little history is available at this stage regarding the restoration and subsequent use, however inspection of the car suggests to us minimal use generally since restoration and careful ownership. We have heard this car running and the engine sounds magnificent. In view of what appears to be minimal post restoration use we would recommend that gentle running in procedures be observed. GP 7767, last taxed to February 2006, is offered with a Swansea V5 registration document and old style log book together with starting instructions and written recommendations from one of its restorers regarding running-in procedures.
Bonhams, Chichester, Sussex
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||£210500|
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