1929 6½-Liter

1930 Bentley Speed Six

Vehicle Profiles

1930 Bentley Speed Six vehicle information

Sportsman Coupe
Coachwork: Gurney Nutting

Chassis Num: GC 3661

With the introduction of the Speed Six, the company went one stage further in providing customers with a serious contender for motor sports events. The main difference to the standard model was the fitting of twin carburettors. Usually the Bentley Sp....[continue reading]

1930 Bentley Speed Six vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Hooper

This is a 1930 Bentley Speed 6 Tourer with coachwork by the British based coachbuilding firm, Hooper. It was on display at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.....[continue reading]

1930 Bentley Speed Six vehicle information

Old Number 2
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: HM2868

Widely regarded as the most important surviving works Bentley, this Brooklands Doube-Twelve winner and LeMans team car from 1930 is also one of the most original vintage Bentleys in the world. This car with chassis number HM2868, was specifically bu....[continue reading]

1930 Bentley Speed Six vehicle information

Drophead Coupe
Coachwork: Mulliner

Chassis Num: LR2776

H.J. Mulliner was responsible for this beautifully proportioned 2-door, 2-light drophead coupe and it is one of the very few Speed Sixes with its original bodywork. The Speed Six was a particular favorite of W.O. Bentley. It was also one of the most ....[continue reading]

1930 Bentley Speed Six vehicle information

Sportsman Coupe
Coachwork: Gurney Nutting

Chassis Num: HM2855

The first owner of this car was Bentley Chairman Woolf Barnato, and it is one of the most famous and unique vintage Bentleys in the world. For many years it was though to be the Blue Train Bentley that was used in a race between Barnato and the Frenc....[continue reading]

1930 Bentley Speed Six vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: HM2869

Two Speed-Six Bentleys were entered for the Brooklands Double Twelve race in May 1930. Racing for 12 hours over each of the two days the cars finished in fine style, with Old Number 2, driven by Barnato and Clements in first place and this car, Old N....[continue reading]

1930 Bentley Speed Six vehicle information

Saloon
Coachwork: Mulliner

This Bentley Speed Six was originally supplied to Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II in October 1930. The Maharaja ruled the state of Jaipur between 1922 and 1949. This very original vintage Bentley is one of only a handful of two-door coupes that survive, ....[continue reading]

1930 Bentley Speed Six vehicle information

Blue Train Tourer

Chassis Num: B68HR
Engine Num: B34H-1396

On March 12th of 1930, a wager was made amongst a group of early motoring enthusiasts at a dinner party at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France. The discussion was prompted by the Rover motor car's advertisement, claiming that its Light Six was faster....[continue reading]

1930 Bentley Speed Six vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: NH2730

A total of 544 of the 6.5-Litre Bentleys were produced from 1926-1930, including 157 Speed Six models starting in 1928. This was the winningest Bentley of all time, including victories at Le Mans in 1929 and 1930. Bentley boy Woolf Barnato owned Spee....[continue reading]

Blue Train Tourer

Chassis Num: 32TC
Engine Num: A7280
Vin Num: Serial no. B001BTS

Woolf Barnato took delivery of the original 'Blue Train' 6½-Litre Speed Six. The legend of the Blue Train was derived from the French express train, which Barnato had succeeded in beating from Cannes to London in an earlier Speed Six. ....[continue reading]

1930 Bentley Speed Six vehicle information

Open Four Seater Sports
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: SB2756

The Bentley Speed Six chassis was introduced in 1928 as a more powerful and sporting version of the 6.5-Liter known as the Big Six. Bentley built this car for Sir Egbert Cadbury, a member of the Cadbury chocolate family who had served as a pilot in W....[continue reading]

1930 Bentley Speed Six vehicle information

Sports Saloon
Coachwork: Gurney Nutting

Chassis Num: NH2741

The Speed Six Bentley was introduced at the 1928 Olympia Motor Show in London as a more sporting version of the marque's earlier standard 6.5-Litre chassis. The new model caught the public's eye and imagination after scoring triumphs at Brooklands an....[continue reading]

1930 Bentley Speed Six vehicle information

Sportsmans Saloon
Coachwork: Corsica

Chassis Num: HM2861
Engine Num: LR2782

The Speed Six was the racing derivative of the massive and potent 6½-Litre. In regards to its mechanical specifications, the Speed Six was very similar to and derivative of the 6½-Litre. Performance features included twin SU carburetors on a new squa....[continue reading]

Sportsman Coupe by Gurney Nutting
Chassis #: GC 3661 
Tourer by Hooper
 
Old Number 2 by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: HM2868 
Drophead Coupe by Mulliner
Chassis #: LR2776 
Sportsman Coupe by Gurney Nutting
Chassis #: HM2855 
Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: HM2869 
Saloon by Mulliner
 
Blue Train Tourer
Chassis #: B68HR 
Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: NH2730 
Blue Train Tourer
Chassis #: 32TC 
Open Four Seater Sports by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: SB2756 
Sports Saloon by Gurney Nutting
Chassis #: NH2741 
Sportsmans Saloon by Corsica
Chassis #: HM2861 

History

The Bentley 6.5 Litre was a continueation of the Litre series Walter Owen Bentley had created. The four-cylinder 4.5-liter unit used in the 4½ Litre was used for the 6½ Litre Bentley but the 6½ Litre Bentley had two extra cylinders. The Bentley stright-6 had a cast-iron block and head with an overhead camshaft having four-valves per cylinder. There were two spark-plugs per cylinder. The 100 mm bore and 140 mm stroke resulted in a displacement size of 6597. Horsepower was in the neightborhood of 180 - 200.

The design was based on the Bentley 3Litre but inspired by the Rolls-Royce Phantom I. There were a variety of chassis sizes available that ranged from 132 inches to 152.5 inches.

In 1928 Bentley introduced the Speed Six which would, in time, become the most successful Bentley racer. Woolf Barnato, Tim Birkin, and Glen Kidston drove the Speed Six to victories at the 1929 and 1930 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In total there were 363 examples of the Bentley 6½ L and 182 examples of the Speed Six.


By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2006
The Bentley Company was created by Walter Owen and Henry Bentley in 1919. Within a few years they had their first 24 Hours of LeMans victory. The company prospered for a number of years before going into receivership in 1931. The company had created a total of 3033 cars and had won victories at LeMans five times.

The litre series engines began in 1919 with the four-cylinder 3-litre unit. For its day, it was very technically advanced, thanks, in part, to the technical abilities of WO Bentley. The engine had dry sump lubrication and an overhead camshaft which operated four valves per cylinder. The use of aluminum pistons was also ahead of its time. In an effort to reduce gasket leaks the entire cylinder block was cast as one piece. The displacement size was increased during the early 1920s culminating to the 6-litre Bentleys. This new model, announced in 1925, had a displacement size of nearly 6.6 liters from the new six-cylinder engine. It drew inspiration from the 3-litre units that had brought many victories to the company. During 1925 and 1926 the Six-Litre Bentley's had mild success on the racing circuit as these seasons were plagued with bad luck for Bentley. In response, Bentley began work on a performance version.

The new special model was ready by 1928 and dubbed the Bentley 6 1/2 Litre Speed Model, also known as the Speed Six. The true potential of the Speed Six was experienced during the 1929 and 1930 LeMans race where the Bentley Speed Six models dominated the race. The drivers and co-drivers who piloted the machines to victory were Woolf Barnato, Tim Birkin, and Glen Kidston.

Success at LeMans was due to many factors including expericne, knowledge, and a durable 200 horsepower engine. The company looked poised to be a strong competitor at LeMans in 1931 but financial difficulties kept them from competition.

The Bentley Company was later bought by Rolls Royce and the proud and historic racing program was discarded.


By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2006
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