Bentley 3 Litre Blue Label Tourer SWB by Park Ward

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3 Litre Blue Label Tourer SWB by Park Ward





The Bentley 3 Litre was a car based on a chassis manufactured by Bentley. The company's first car, it was introduced in 1919 and the chassis was made available to customers' coachbuilders from 1921 to 1929. The Bentley was larger than the Bugattis that dominated racing at the time, but strength and innovative technology compensated for the extra weight. The 4000 lb (1800 kg) car won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1924, with drivers John Duff and Frank Clement, and again in 1927, this time in Super Sports form, with drivers S. C. H. "Sammy" Davis and Dudley Benjafield.

The 3 Litre was delivered as a running chassis, with Bentley referring many customers to Vanden Plas for standard bodies. Most were tourers, but some variety was inevitable with custom coachwork. Customers included Prince George, Duke of Kent, Gertrude Lawrence, and Beatrice Lillie

The 3.0 L (2,996 cc or 183 cu in) straight-4 engine had several technical innovations. The engine was one of the first production car engines with 4 valves per cylinder and an overhead camshaft. The bevel-geared shaft drive for the camshaft was designed by ex-Royal Flying Corps engineer Clive Gallop. The engine was also among the first with two spark plugs per cylinder, pent-roof combustion chambers, and twin carburetters. It was extremely under square, optimized for low-end torque, with a bore of 80 mm (3.1 in) and a stroke of 149 mm (5.9 in). To increase durability, the iron engine block and cylinder head were cast as a single unit.

Power output was around 70hp (52 kW), allowing the 3 Litre to reach 80 mph (129 km/h). The Speed Model could reach 90 mph (145 km/h); the Super Sports could exceed 100 mph (161 km/h).

A four-speed gearbox was fitted.

Only the rear wheels had brakes until 1924, when four-wheel brakes were introduced.

There were three main variants of the 3 litre and they became known by the colours commonly used on the radiator badge. There is, however, no definitive rule controlling badge colours and the factory would supply any colour requested.

Blue label

This was the standard model with 117.5 in (2,984 mm) wheelbase from 1921 to 1929 or long 130.0 in (3,302 mm) wheelbase from 1923 to 1929.

The 3 Litre car was shown at the 1919 London Motor Show, but the engine had not yet been finished. It took two years to get the engine right, with the first customer delivery in September 1921. Production lasted through 1929, by which time the car had been surpassed by Bentley's own 4½ Litre car.

In the winter of 1926/7 the factory's service department created the first supercharged Bentley when chassis number 220 FR5189 had a Roots type blower fitted to its 3 litre engine.
This pre-dated the Birkin supercharged Bentleys by two years. Like the later 4-1/2 litre supercharged cars, its blower was crankshaft-driven and mounted in front of the radiator, between the dumb irons. Unlike them its carburetor was mounted on the left side of the engine block. A rather circuitous intake tract carries the fuel-air mixture forward from there to the blower. On 4-1/2 litre cars the carburetor is mounted on the blower, as commonly done on other supercharged British cars with front-mounted blowers.

Dating from February 1926, the Bentley 3-Litre offered here is an example of the Light Tourer on the 9' 9½" wheelbase chassis, only 42 of which were made. The Light Tourer was an 'economy' model with a chassis price of £795 and a complete car price of £995. It carried the standard 4/5 seater open body by Vanden Plas and was available in only three standard colours: Maroon, Dark Blue and Grey, with others available at extra cost. A shorter steering column was fitted to give greater space in the body. Today the Light Tourer is very rare, with only two or three known survivors.

Sold for: 263200 USD
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