100-year-old 1923 Bentley 3-Litre race winner at Brooklands to go under the hammer
Car comes from current sixty-year ownership
Car is estimated at £140,000 - £180,000 when it is offered at auction on 15 March
A 1923 vintage, race winning Bentley 3-Litre with continuous vehicle history from new, and a current sixty-year ownership, is going under the hammer at H&H’s auction on 15 March at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford with an estimated value of £140,000 - £180,000.
The Bentley 3-Litre, chassis number 110, spent the first part of its life being raced at Brooklands, picking up a win in a 90mph Long Handicap recording two laps at 92.23mph. It also went on to claim a third-place finish at the 35th 100mph Short Handicap in the hands of Captain Cecil Wingfield Twisleton-Wykeham Fiennes - relative of famed explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and the actor, Ralph Fiennes.
“Very rarely do we find cars with such racing pedigree and over sixty years of continuous ownership,” comments James McWilliam, senior motorcar specialist, H&H Classics. “From winning events at Brooklands, to eventually finding its way to an owner who has looked after ‘Wilfred’ for over sixty years, it’s a real delight to bring this car to auction.”
Only 1,621 examples of the Bentley 3-Litre were built between 1921-1929. This early example comes with a continuous vehicle history from new and has had numerous upgrades and restorations throughout its life - with period pictures showing chassis 110, christened ‘Wilfred’, running at Brooklands with a prominent side-exit exhaust and sans wings.
After finding success at Brooklands, the Bentley 3-Litre found its way through several owners and survived the Second World War before being involved in an accident in 1947, sustaining enough damage to require a replacement chassis frame (ex-chassis 712). Despite having another chassis frame fitted, the original identity, that of chassis 110, was never relinquished and the car still boasts a number of early original features such as the switch plate (clearly numbered 110), engine crankcase (clearly numbered 104) and petrol tank.
'Wilfred’ comes with an extensive vehicle history, including a copy of its original Kingsbury factory service record, and a handwritten log detailing the late 1940s rebuild. It also includes a Three Litre Bentley handbook, Technical Facts of the Vintage Bentley manual and numerous photos and receipts relating to past work - including a bodywork restoration in the 1980s and a valve gear overhaul in 2004 by Fopp d’Hane with additional focus on the magnetos, tyres and carburettors.
“Having been owned by the vendor since 1963, the opportunity was taken to re-register the 3-Litre as ‘KLY 3’, reclassifying it for road tax purposes, subsequently putting it into a lower bracket,” added McWilliam. “Over the years ‘Wilfred’ has had significant maintenance with specialists and retains a strong connection with its past. We expect significant interest from pre-war car and motorsport enthusiasts as this is a rare opportunity to acquire a Bentley from very-long term ownership and with a unique and fascinating backstory.”
The classic, collector and performance car auction takes place at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford on the 15 March, with viewing available on Tuesday 14 March. Bidding can be done in person, online or via telephone.