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 Bentley 3 Litre photo

1926 Bentley 3 Litre

Bentley began from humble beginnings in a mews garage off Baker Street, London in 1919. It quickly achieved fame for its fast touring cars, well able to compete with the best of American and European sports car during the 1920s. The Bentley cars dominated at LeMans in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930 with the help of the legendary drivers of Woolf Barnato, Jack Dunfee, Tim Birkin and Sammy Davis.

At the 1919 Olympia Motor Exhibition, W.O. Bentley unveiled the new 3-litre car bearing his name. The prototype engine had only been fired up for the first time just a few weeks earlier. The four-cylinder 'fixed head' engine had a single overhead camshaft, four-valves per cylinder, a bore of 80mm, and a stroke of 149mm. The ignition was provided by Twin ML magnetos and power was sent via a four-speed gearbox with right-hand change. The engine was mounted in a pressed-steel chassis with a wheelbase of 117.5-inches, then adopted dimensions of 130 inches (Standard Long) in 1923. The shorter frame was then reserved for the TT Replica (Tourist Trophy) and subsequent Speed Model. Prior to 1924, braking was handled by rear wheel brakes. Four-wheel Perrot-type brakes were introduced in 1924.

In 1922, Bentleys finished second, fourth, and fifth in the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, earning them the Team Prize. This lead to the TT Replica models on the existing 117.5 inch platform. They were identified with the Red Label on its radiator. The Speed Models were given twin SU 'sloper' carburetors, different camshaft, a higher compression ratio, and the close-ratio A-type gearbox. The A-Type gearbox was standard equipment prior to 1927 when the C-Type box was adopted. Other Speed Model enhancements included a larger 11-gallon fuel tank and often Andre Hartford shock absorbers.

Approximately 1,600 examples of the 3-Litre models were built with the majority being clothed by Vanden Plas with either saloon or open tourer coachwork.


by Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2019

Related Reading : 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 companys founder, Walter Owen, and benefited from his technical abilities and skill.....
Continue Reading >>

1926 Vehicle Profiles

1926 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: LM1342

W.O. Bentley unveiled the 3 Litre car bearing his name on Stand 126 at the 1919 Olympia Motor Exhibition, only a few weeks after the very first prototype engine was fired up for the first time. Bentley's now famous 4-cylinder engine was fitted in a p....[continue reading]

1926 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information

Speed Sports Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

The Bentley of the 1920s was a painstakingly crafted vehicle. On average, Bentley produced 300 cars annually or about 6-7 cars per week. At such a small rate, costs were high and cash flow minimal, thus leading to Bentley's acquisition by Rolls-Royce....[continue reading]

1926 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information

LeMans Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: PH1461
Engine Num: PH1468

The London-based coachbuilder Vanden Plas is synonymous with the lightweight touring bodywork built on many of the Bentleys that raced at LeMans in the late 1920s. This car is one of the 513 Red Label 3 Litre Speed models built at W.O. Bentley's Cric....[continue reading]

1926 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information

SS Boattail
Coachwork: Surbico

Chassis Num: NR516
Engine Num: 1133

W.O. Bentley was often quoted as saying 'Competition is the cheapest way of selling cars,' and to prove it, Bentley Motors built many competition cars for amateur racing drivers throughout the company's history. This unique and sporty 3 Litre is one ....[continue reading]

1926 Bentley 3 Litre vehicle information

Speed Weymann Drophead Coupé
Coachwork: Freestone & Webb

Chassis Num: TN1568
Engine Num: TN1571

This Bentley 3-Litre is one of 15 examples built by Bentley Motors to 'Speed Weymann' specifications, and this is the only example delivered as a Speed Weymann Coupe. The other examples were built as saloons. The elegant coachwork rests on the 3/16'-....[continue reading]

Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: LM1342 
Speed Sports Tourer by Vanden Plas
 
LeMans Tourer by Vanden Plas
Chassis #: PH1461 
SS Boattail by Surbico
Chassis #: NR516 
Speed Weymann Drophead Coupé by Freestone & Webb
Chassis #: TN1568 


Concepts by Bentley



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Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Bentley
1931Chevrolet (619,554)Ford (615,455)Buick (138,965)
1930Ford (1,140,710)Chevrolet (640,980)Buick (181,743)
1929Ford (1,507,132)Chevrolet (1,328,605)Buick (196,104)
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)Dodge (152,673)Chevrolet (138,932)
1921Ford (1,275,618)Chevrolet (130,855)Buick (82,930)

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