conceptcarz.com


 Bentley 3 Litre photo

1923 Bentley 3 Litre

History

Walter Owen Bentley, commonly known as 'WO', worked as an apprentice at the Great Northern Railway where he designed airplane engines. The first Bentley automobile was created in London just after the end of World War I, and given a three-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 65 horsepower. It was designed by the company's founder, Walter Owen, and benefited from his technical abilities and skill. This car was the first to carry the flying 'B' insignia and the hallmark radiator casing. An example was shown at the 1919 London Motor Show, though it was void of an engine that was not ready in time.

The 3-liter Bentley would remain in production until 1929 with a total of 1622 examples being produced in various configurations. A total of 513 examples of the Speed Model were created during this time. The 3-Litre Bentley was the car that would give the Bentley Company its fame. The car would emerge victorious at the 1924 24 Hours of LeMans race, which is a true testament to the car's abilities, stamina, technology, ingenuity, and speed. The Bentley's would win LeMans again in 1927, 1928, 1929, and 1930. They competed at various other important races, such as the Tourist Trophy and Brookland's Double 12, where the cars proved they were the fastest.

Under the bonnet was the powerplant, which was a technical marvel and advanced for its time, featuring aluminum pistons, twin spark ignition, and an overhead camshaft that operated four-valves per cylinder. The cylinder block and head were cast as a single piece which prevents leakage from the gaskets. The dry-sump lubrication allowed for increased oil capacity, lower center of gravity for the engine, and reduced energy/power loss.

Various coachbuilders were tasked with creating the bodies; Vanden Plas was one of the popular favorites, as was the LeMans type Bodystyle which closely mimicked the body style of the LeMans racer. During that era, the cars that raced at LeMans were often given bodies of road-going Tourers, at the request of the organizers of the event. The Bentley's that raced at LeMans were given lightweight bodies, 25-gallon fuel tanks, and a re-worked suspension that included double hydraulic shock absorbers in the front with improved front axle beams. To help while driving at night, some cars were given a central Marchal headlight.

A six-cylinder engine soon followed, appearing in 1925, and provided additional power to carry the large and elegant coachwork bodies. It displaced nearly 6.6-liters and was given all the technology and mechanical ingenuity of the 3-liter units. In 1928 a high-performance version was introduced, dubbed the 6.5-Liter Speed Model, also known as the Speed Six. In the capable hands of the 'Bentley Boys', the works drivers spearheaded by Woolf Barnato captured many important victories for the company. Their first major success came in 1928 at LeMans where Barnato and Rubin drove a 4.5-Liter Bentley to victory. The Speed Six would dominate LeMans again in 1929 and 1930 with Barnato as their driver. The success of the Speed Six was due to its reliability and 200 horsepower engine.

Bentley was unable to compete in 1931 at LeMans due to financial difficulties. The company would soon be acquired by Rolls Royce which spelled an end for the racing program.


By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2007

1923 Vehicle Profiles

1923 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Chalmer and Hoyer Ltd.

Chassis Num: 409
Engine Num: SE12

Bentley's fame would be well-deserved earning five victories at Le Mans between 1924 and 1930. The small British manufacturer was the famed endurance race's most prolific performer until well after the Second World War. But, Bentley not only set the ....[continue reading]

1923 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information

TT Replica Tourer
Coachwork: Carlton Carriage Company

Chassis Num: 263
Engine Num: 339

Bentley produced seventy-one examples of their TT Replica models. These models were produced following the Bentley Team's 2nd, 4th and 5th place finishes in the 1922 Tourist Trophy Race. Their success in the race convinced the company to produce a re....[continue reading]

1923 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Park Ward & Co.

Chassis Num: 332
Engine Num: 337

Coachwork by Park Ward & Co. Ltd. Delivered to Mr. L.J.R. Lapisburn of Ravensworth, England who ran the car at the 1924 Brooklands Summer Meet. The editor of Motor Sport confirmed Mr. Lapisburn turned in several laps averaging 93.62 mph at the event.....[continue reading]

1923 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information

Sports Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: 246
Engine Num: 246

This Bentley 3 Litre is the earliest surviving 3 Litre team car. It was built by W.O. Bentley for the Coupe Georges Boillot race held at Boulogne, France, in 1923. Frank Clement in Bentley's Experimental Department, which was effectively Bentley's ra....[continue reading]

1923 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information

TT Tourer
Coachwork: Park Ward & Co.

After W.O. Bentley's success in the 1922 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, when his 3 Litres won the team prize, finishing second, fourth and fifth, W.O. introduced the TT Replica (later known as the Speed Model) on the standard 9-foot, 9.5-inch chassis. T....[continue reading]

Tourer by Chalmer and Hoyer Ltd.
Chassis #: 409 
TT Replica Tourer by Carlton Carriage Company
Chassis #: 263 
Tourer by Park Ward & Co.
Chassis #: 332 
Sports Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: 246 
TT Tourer by Park Ward & Co.
 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

3 Litre

Year
Production
Wheelbase
Engine
Prices
117.50 in.
4 cyl., 182.83 CID., 70.00hp
117.00 in.
4 cyl., 183.07 CID., 70.00hp
117.00 in., 117.50 in.
4 cyl., 182.95 CID., 80.00hp
117.50 in., 130.00 in.
4 cyl., 182.83 CID., 70.00hp
108.00 in., 117.00 in., 117.50 in.
8 cyl., 182.83 CID., 80.00hp
117.00 in.
8 cyl., 182.83 CID., 80.00hp
117.00 in.
4 cyl., 183.07 CID., 70.00hp
117.50 in., 120.00 in.
4 cyl., 183.07 CID., 70.00hp
4 cyl., 182.83 CID., 87.00hp
117.00 in.
4 cyl., 183.07 CID., 70.00hp
117.00 in.
4 cyl., 183.07 CID., 70.00hp

Industry Production

#1#2#3Bentley
1928Chevrolet (1,193,212)Ford (607,592)Willys Knight (231,360)
1927Chevrolet (1,001,820)Ford (367,213)Buick (255,160)
1926Ford (1,669,847)Chevrolet (547,724)Buick (266,753)
1925Ford (1,669,847)Chevrolet (306,479)Dodge (201,000)
1924Ford (1,922,048)Chevrolet (264,868)Dodge (193,861)
1923Ford (1,831,128)Chevrolet (323,182)Buick (210,572)
1922Ford (1,147,028)Chevrolet (243,479)Dodge (152,673)
1921Ford (1,275,618)Chevrolet (130,855)Buick (82,930)
1920Ford (806,040)Chevrolet (146,243)Dodge (141,000)
1919Ford (820,445)Chevrolet (129,118)Buick (119,310)
1918Ford (435,898)Buick (126,222)Willys Knight (88,753)

Related Automotive News

Bentley Trainees Restore Historic Engine From The 1920S

Bentley Trainees Restore Historic Engine From The 1920S

Engine No. 212 painstakingly restored for Bentley centenary Apprentices bring 1923 four-cylinder back to life 3.0-litre originally fitted to Bentley chassis 209 Engine owned by Royal Artillery Corps School for over 70 years Painstaking 700-hour...
Mulsanne – A History Of 'The Grand Bentley'

Mulsanne – A History Of 'The Grand Bentley'

Bentley Mulsanne originally launched in 2009 after a four-year engineering programme to redefine the ultimate luxury sedan Known originally as Project Kimberley after the Kimberley diamond Developed into three variants over its lifespan – includi...
Gooding & Company Proudly Presents 'Passion of a Lifetime' – A Masterpiece Collection of Sixteen Substantial Automobiles for Sale on 1 April 2020

Gooding & Company Proudly Presents 'Passion of a Lifetime' – A Masterpiece Collection of Sixteen Substantial Automobiles for Sale on 1 April 2020

Santa Monica, Calif. (22 January 2020) – Gooding %26 Company, the internationally recognized auction house, is honored to reveal the automobiles comprising the companys first-ever London sale, Passion of a Lifetime, at Somerset House in central...
AUCTIONS AMERICA KICKS OFF ITS 2016 SEASON WITH $20 MILLION IN SALES AND 40 PERCENT NEW BIDDERS AT FORT LAUDERDALE

AUCTIONS AMERICA KICKS OFF ITS 2016 SEASON WITH $20 MILLION IN SALES AND 40 PERCENT NEW BIDDERS AT FORT LAUDERDALE

Auctions Americas 14th annual Fort Lauderdale collector car auction generates %2420 million in sales Diverse top-sellers list led by 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB4 Daytona at %24649,000 Rare American muscle and desirable Mercedes-Benzes attract significan...
Bentley Motors' North American Debuts

Bentley Motors' North American Debuts

New Continental GT Speed makes N. American debut EXP 9 F luxury SUV displayed on Concept lawn Highly prized classic and vintage Bentleys to be auctioned As Californias Monterey Peninsula is primed for a week of displays and events involving som...
Famous Bentley 4¼-Litre 'Embiricos' Special Makes Star Appearance At Crewe Factory

Famous Bentley 4¼-Litre 'Embiricos' Special Makes Star Appearance At Crewe Factory

One of the rarest and most valuable Bentleys in the world, the 4¼-Litre Embiricos special, is making an historic appearance at the marques home in Crewe. Fresh from taking part in the Louis Vuitton Serenissima Run in Venice and featuring at the...

© 1998-2022. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Vehicle information, history, and specifications from concept to production.
Follow ConceptCarz on Facebook Follow ConceptCarz on Twitter RSS News Feed

Conceptcarz.com
© 1998-2022 Conceptcarz.com Reproduction or reuse prohibited without written consent.