Bentley 3/8 Litre.
Post 1930 there was much enthusiasm at Brooklands to obtain one of the coveted 120MPH or 130MPH badges for attaining these speeds on the outer circuit.
In pursuit of this, Bentley men and women braved the uneven surface of the Brooklands banking, frequently with all four wheels off the ground, in Cricklewood Bentleys rebuilt for the purpose with 3 and 4½ litre engines removed, the chassis adapted, and 6½ or 8 Litre engines fitted.
Post war, Bentleys emerged from their slumbers, frequently with dilapidated coachwork and in various states of disassembly, to be purchased by enthusiasts who wished to embrace Bentley’s rich racing heritage.
The Bentley here, chassis 299, had served a period as breakdown truck in the early post war years and was purchased in that form by enthusiast John Burton in the mid-1950s for £35.00. With the benefit of enthusiasm for the marque and skills learnt at the family garage John set about creating the early stages of this Bentley as we see it here today. The pictures here show it on its first outing going sideways in 1958.
The comprehensive file shows its history thereafter but in the early 1990’s there was a resurgence of those Brooklands years inspired by Bentley racer and dealer Stanley Mann who broke 5 speed records in a 3/8 on the banked circuit at Millbrook.
Having already been modified all those years ago, chassis 299 was the right Bentley for the time. Purchased by historic racer and Bentley man Jurgen Pyritz, chassis 299, with its distinctive registration number 32 HK, was rebuilt for the circuit. Initially painted bright yellow with black wings this was a formidable racer in both sight and sound.
Maintained extensively by NDR for the last 25 years, during which time the colour has been changed to very dark green, chassis 299 has more recently been detuned to make it more pleasurable for tours or fast road events as well as sprints or hill climbs, at the request of the custodian who found lighting up the rear tyres at 70 MPH somewhat overpowering. But make no mistake “The Beast” is no pussycat.
The power from the Bentley 8 litre engine is instantaneous and immense with a sound eclipsing anything other than a Hurricane. Having been in this form for a number of years the overall appearance adds to the ruggedness of the whole affair and is best described by the current owner in a recent interview:
“…. I fell in love with the patina and paint imperfections which told countless stories of its racing history and rallies through the Alps as well as many other adventures I had yet to discover”
With a beautifully documented history file and maintenance record showing a no expense spared policy, this is a very appealing Bentley – not for the shy and retiring – which provides all round Bentley entertainment and is undeniably a real crowd pleaser.
If you wish to see the last owner having an enjoyable time copy and post the link below.