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Lot 240: Bentley 3 Litre Tourer

Goodwood Festival of Speed, Bonhams (29 June 2012)

This handsome Vintage Bentley is offered for sale for the first time in more than 40 years and is a well documented example with a known history from its earliest days. Much of the credit for its extensive documentation rests with former owner H.A. Stonor who diligently researched the car's following his acquisition in 1963 and when he was able to correspond with and find information first hand from former owners. Mr. Stonor traces its early days back to an advertisement in Motor magazine on 18th November 1924, where it was listed for sale care of Stanford & Gray Ltd. of London's Regent Street as 'New Bentley long chassis, with Gurney Nutting 5 seater touring body, complete with 2 spare wheels, 4 wheel brakes etc. most luxurious car'! This actually contradicts the Works records which note it as a Vanden Plas body, but correlate with its coach builder plates which it is believed to have worn throughout its life, suggesting that the works records are an anomaly (it is also not listed in the published VDP records). On New Year's Day 1925 it was registered with its first keeper, E. Grice of Lee-on-Solent, Hants. The Bentley was serviced by the Works for the first two years of its life before being sold to D.R. Padmore of Solihull after which it was maintained by local Birmingham Bentley Agents Henry Garner until 1937. Its custodian through the war years was J.H. Bennett also of Solihull, who in 1944 gave the car to Dr. Bernard Blaxhill, on the understanding that he would revive its then poor condition. Blaxhill proceeded to spend the ensuing six years refurbishing it. Rather sadly shortly after its completion the Bentley received some front end damage while parked on the roadside. After all his hard work Dr. Blaxhill couldn't face redoing it again, so he in turn gave the car to a fresh enthusiast keen to return it to the road, that being a James B. Harper of Henley-in-Arden. The next rebuild necessitated the fitting of a new front axle and a steering box and column, which were actually from a 4 1/2 Litre, at the same time new Rudge Whitworth wheels were constructed and further cosmetic work was also undertaken. The car would have just one further owner before it was purchased by Stonor in April 1963. By this point the car was again quite mechanically worn and so was entrusted to known Vintage Bentley expert Tony Townshend, who carried out considerable work including the fitting of a 3:53 crown wheel and pinion and sloper carburettors. Later that year Stonor shipped the 3 Litre to his home in Malaya, where he enthusiastically used and campaigned the car for the next few years. It was a regular sight at motor sport events in the Far East including the Gap Hill Climb where it won its class in December 1963. In 1968 it returned to the UK and was acquired by the present owners, the Sharpe Family who actively assembled a collection that would number more than 200 automobiles, before the collection's dispersal in 2005. Retained at that time, it was intended that the car would be refurbished after its four decades of slumber, and that with theoretical more time would allow this and the Rolls in this auction to be regularly used. In reality this work has taken longer than expected and has been completed within the last year, consequently the decision has been made to pass the car on to new ownership. Smartly presented in Royal blue over black and with new light grey upholstery, the Bentley is accented with freshly replated nickel trim. A full complement of weather equipment in black double duck allows for use in all seasons. Mechanically, the engine has been taken down and overhauled, but the car should be considered as probably requiring running in and debugging owing to its long period without active road use. Overall, this is a good looking open vintage touring Bentley with an interesting pedigree and long current ownership.

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Festival of Speed
Bonhams, Chichester, Goodwood,UK
Lot Number240
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£105000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£119100
Condition rating1
Registration number
Chassis number886
Engine number890
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors4