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Bentley History

1924 Bentley 3 Litre

Chassis number : 477

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Sold for $671,000 at 2012 RM Auctions - Monterey.
When World War I came to a close, W.O. Bentley began work on designing a new engine. With the help of F.T. Burgess from Humber and Harry Varley from Vauxhaull, the work was complete and all the parts were manufactured by September of 1919. Nobby Clarke, chief mechanic of one of the R.N.A.S. squadrons was hired to assemble the first car engine. The long-stroke four-cylinder engine displaced 2,996 cubic-centimeters and offered maximum power at just 3,500 RPM. A mock-up chassis was made ready for the Olympia Motor Show in London.

The new Bentley was a well-designed vehicle that also achieved incredible success for many years in motor racing, including victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours four times in a row during the 1920s. Bentley's drivers included Woolf Barnato, Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin, Jack Barclay, Glen Kidston, and George Duller. These individuals would become known as the 'Bentley Boys.'

The first customer's 3-litre was delivered in August of 192. Bentley would go on to produce models of 4.5-litres, 6.5-litres and, finally, between 1930 and 1931, the 8-Litre. The 8-Liter version was basically an enlarged version of the Speed Six. They had a newer and lower chassis with out-set rear springs and an F-Series gearbox. This layout allowed for larger bearings, which provided extra strength and reduced engine noise.

The first 8-Liter Bentley's made their appearance at the Olympia Motor Show in October of 1930. With the large engine, these mighty vehicles were capable of carrying heavy and elegant coachwork to speeds exceeding 100 mph.

Unfortunately, Bentley ran into deep financial trouble and by 1931, the company effectively ended. Bentley's assets were sold to the British Central Equitable Trust which was representing Rolls-Royce.

A few years after the introduction of the three-liter Bentley, 4.5- and 6.5-liter Bentley engines were commonly installed in a number of three-liter chassis. The original closed bodies were often discarded in favor of custom sporting open designs. The lighter coachwork and more powerful engines continued to keep the Bentley's in top racing form. Other times, Bentley owners just wanted vehicles that resembled the LeMans winning Bentleys. Bentley cars, after all, had won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929, and 1930.

This particular example, chassis number 477 with engine number TW2702, is a Bentley 3/8-Liter 'Hawkeye Special.' It is based on a three-liter chassis and powered by an eight-liter engine. Records indicate that it was a Speed or 'Red Badge' model and was first assigned British registration plate number DK2695. The original engine was replaced with a 6½-litre unit offering 140 horsepower, which was enlarged to an eight-liter, 437 horsepower specification, along with an alloy body in the early-1970s by Bentley builder John Guppy and Hawkeye 'The Flying Swede' Wijkander.

This car is finished in British Racing Green with a two-place bucket seat leather interior. Its original 'Red Badge' can still be found on the radiator shell.

In 2007, this Hawkeye Special was purchased by Stanley Mann and brought to America.


By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2014

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2012 RM Auctions - Monterey

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $550,000-USD $650,000 
Sale Price :
USD $671,000

1924 Bentley 3 Litre Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Bentley 3 Litre

(Data based on Model Year 1924 sales)
1924 BENTLEY 3-LITRE SPEED MODEL TOURER
Chassis#: 425
Sold for USD$292,833
  2021 Bonhams : The Bond Street Sale
 
1924 Bentley 3-4½-Litre Four-Seater by Vanden Plas
Chassis#: 406
Sold for USD$445,000
  2020 RM Sothebys : The Elkhart Collection
 
1924 Bentley 3-Litre Tourer
Chassis#: 365
Sold for USD$243,483
  2019 Bonhams : Goodwood Revival
 
1924 Bentley 3/5.3 Liter Le Mans Replica
Chassis#: 712
Sold for USD$390,000
  2019 Bonhams : Greenwich Concours
 
1924 Bentley 3-Litre Sports Two-Seater
Chassis#: 392
Sold for USD$434,000
  2019 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island
1924 Bentley 3 Litre image  1924 Bentley 3 Litre image  
1924 Bentley 3-Litre Red Label Speed Model Tourer
Chassis#: 610
Sold for USD$330,000
  2019 Worldwide Auctioneers : Scottsdale, Arizona
 
1924 Bentley 3-Litre Tourer
Chassis#: 589
Sold for USD$247,735
  2018 Bonhams : Goodwood Revival
 
1924 Bentley 3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER
Chassis#: 897/780
Sold for USD$199,999
  2017 Bonhams : Philadelphia Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
 
1924 Bentley 3-Litre Red Label Speed Model Tourer
Chassis#: 485
Sold for USD$351,223
  2017 Bonhams : Goodwood Members Meeting
 
1924 Bentley 3/8-Liter 'Hawkeye Special'
Chassis#: 477
Sold for USD$671,000
  2012 RM Auctions - Monterey
1924 Bentley 3 Litre image  1924 Bentley 3 Litre image  
1924 Bentley 3-Liter Sport Tourer
Chassis#: 792
Sold for USD$254,500
  2012 Bonhams - Greenwich Concours d'Elegance: Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia
 
1924 Bentley 3-Litre Speed Model Tourer
Chassis#: 840
Sold for USD$265,908
  2012 Bonhams - Collectors' Motor cars and Automobilia
 
1924 Bentley 3-Litre Speed Model Tourer
Chassis#: 401
Sold for USD$217,891
  2011 Bonhams - Collectors' Motor Cars
1924 Bentley 3 Litre image  1924 Bentley 3 Litre image  
1924 Bentley 3-Litre 'Red Label'
Chassis#: 356
Sold for USD$258,107
  2009 Coys Auction - Blenheim Palace
 

Bentley 3 Litres That Failed To Sell At Auction

1924 Bentley 3 Litre's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1924 BENTLEY 3-LITRE VANDEN PLAS REPLICA TOURER8582021 Bonhams : Goodwood Revival : Collectors Motor Cars and Automobilia $170,000$220,000
1924 Bentley 3-Litre Simplex Drophead Coupé7472019 Bonhams : Goodwood Members Meeting $260,000$320,000
1924 Bentley 3-Litre Speed Model Tourer3732018 Bonhams : Beaulieu Sale   
1924 Bentley 3 Litre H.J. Mulliner Simplex Drophead Coupe7472018 H &H Auctions Classics & Motor Sport Hall of Fame $340,000$380,000
1924 BENTLEY 3 LITER SPEED MODEL FOUR SEATER TOURER COACHWORK BELIEVED TO BE BY H.J. MULLINER7172016 Bonhams : The Amelia Island Auction $450,000$525,000
1924 Bentley 3-Liter Red Label Speed Model8492009 Bonhams Larz Anderson Auto Museum $275,000$325,000
1924 Bentley 3/8 Litre Sports Roadster4582008 Automobiles of London$475,000$600,000$680,000

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1924 Bentley 3 Litre Profiles

1924 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Coachwork: Mulliner
Chassis #: 717
1924 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information
Sports Car
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: 532
Engine #: 538
1924 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information
Sports Car
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: 815
Engine #: 806
1924 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information
Hawkeye Special
Chassis #: 477
Engine #: TW2702
1924 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information
Tourer
Chassis #: 564
Engine #: 557
1924 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information
Sports Car
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis #: 392
Engine #: 401
1924 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information
Bridges Saloon
Coachwork: Bridges Garage
Chassis #: 676
Engine #: 690