1924 Bentley 3 Litre Sport Pilots: J. F. Duff, F. Clement Team: Duff & Aldington Race: 1st overall (S 3.0 class) at Le Mans in 1924 Ixo - LM 1924 (diecast)
Bentley produced the 3 Litre Sport from 1921 to 1924, in a total of 194 cars. It came out of the factory only as a rolling chassis, per the custom at the time. The consumer bought the chassis from Bentley and then indicated a coach builder of his preference to make the body. The 3 Litre model came with a torquey 3.0 inline-4 engine. Displacing 2995 cm³, it had SOHC with 16 valves, and consequently was quite advanced for the time. It was one of the first production engines with 4 valves per cylinder, dry-sump lubrication and an overhead camshaft. Stock engines would produce around 70 hp, but in race tune it had a higher output. This particular 3 Litre was chassis #582, delivered in April of 1924. The owner asked Vanden Plas of Kingsbury, northwest London, to fit it with a four-seater Tourer body.
However, Bentley’s founder, Walter Owen Bentley, wasn’t exactly a big fan of racing. Nevertheless, he entered a single works car in the inaugural 24 Heures du Mans of 1923. The car finished in fourth place, and from then forward Bentley cars were a constant at La Sarthe. With factory support, in 1924 the 3 Litre Sport was back to the French countryside. After harsh 2077.34 km, Frank Clement and John Duff finished in first place. To this day, a Bentley car would win Le Mans five more times.
After winning at Le Mans, it received a Saloon body. But in 1931 Bentley bought it back by and restored it to its original guise. The car still exists to this day, and is still owned by Bentley. According to a dear friend, it’s “clunker” 🙄. All right, that may be so, but a delightful one. Another winner from Ixo, it makes a terrific pair with my Speed Six.