1930 Bentley 6.5 LitreSOLD

Speed Six Tourer Le Mans

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The car presented here, n° SB 2775, was made in July 1930 with limousine bodywork by Lancefield on this chassis with a 12' 6'' (3.82m) wheelbase; the body was reworked by Corsica as a Le Mans Tourer in 1938. It was acquired by its current owner from the British dealer and Vintage Bentley specialist Stanley Mann in 2002, and has since been regularly driven and maintained. It is a formidable machine, and ready for the road.

Reference Number 87090

as of 6/20/2010

Overview
Car 1930 Bentley 6.5 Litre
VIN SB 2775 
Exterior / Interior Color      Dark Green 
Configuration Right Hand Drive (RHD) 
Transmission Manual Shift 
Known History

Walter Owen Bentley began his career as a railway engineer before going into automobiles (then aero-engines during World War I). He made full use of all his mechanical experience in 1919 to design a sports car with a four-cylinder, 3-litre engine, much influenced by the Mercedes overhead camshaft engine of 1914. The Bentley engine had a cylinder-block and cylinder-head cast in a single piece, and four valves per cylinder.

 

This Bentley 3-Litre won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1924, and 1,600 of these cars had been produced by 1929. Its success prompted Bentley and his backers to target a more demanding clientèle by planning a six-cylinder 6 1/2-Litre, no doubt in response to the new Rolls-Royce Phantom I. This first Bentley Six, launched at the end of 1925, boasted an original, very quiet distribution system using connecting rods and eccentrics, inspired by a locomotive's rod and crankshaft system. This high-performance, albeit costly, car struggled to make its mark on the limited yet overcrowded luxury market, despite Bentley's burgeoning reputation in the wake of their Le Mans victories from 1927-30.

 

The wins in 1929/30 were obtained by the new Speed Six launched in 1928 as a more sporting version of the 6 1/2-Litre, with a larger radiator and more powerful engine, thanks to a higher compression-ratio and two carburettors. Race-minded clients had hoped the 6 1/2-Litre would display the same vivacity as the first, lighter 3-Litre, but the initial six-cylinder proved a disappointment - prompting the design of the new, four-cylinder 4 1/2-Litre. The new Speed Six soon reached levels of performance worthy of the marque by twice winning the Le Mans 24 Hours, along with several major British endurance events. This same Speed Six, with special streamlined bodywork, hit the headlines in 1930 when, driven by the firm's chairman (and Surrey wicket-keeper) Woolf Barnato, it raced the Blue Train from Cannes to Calais and on to London (via Dover), winning by four hours.