1927 Bentley 6-1/2 Litre Le Mans Sport Vanden Plas
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1927 Bentley 6-1/2 Litre Le Mans Sport Vanden Plas

     Before World War I, Walter Owen Bentley had been in partnership with his brother Horace Millner Bentley selling French DFP cars. He had always wanted to design and build cars bearing his name.  In August 1919, Bentley Motors Ltd. was registered.  Development took longer than estimated, and the first cars were ready in September 1921. Their durability earned widespread acclaim.
     The first major event was the 1922 Indianapolis 500. The Bentley started 19th and finished 13th at a speed of 75 mph,
competing against racing cars such as Duesenberg.  Woolf Barnato acquired his first Bentley (a 3-litre) in 1925, just 12 months before he also acquired the business itself.   He was a member of a social set of wealthy British motorists known as the "Bentley Boys". The Bentley enterprise was always underfunded, but inspired by the 1924 Le Mans win by John Duff and Frank Clement, Barnato agreed to finance Bentley's business, and a financial reorganisation of the original Bentley company was carried out.  With renewed financial input, W. O. Bentley was able to design another generation of cars.
     The car models were;
1921–29 3-litre
1926–30 4½-litre & "Blower Bentley"
1926–30 6½-litre
1928–30 6½-litre Speed Six
1930–31 8-litre
1931 4-litre
     Performance at the 24 hours of Le Mans Grand Prix d'Endurance
1923 4th (private entry) (3-Litre)
1924 1st (3-Litre)
1925 did not finish
1926 did not finish
1927 1st 15th 17th (3-Litre)
1928 1st 5th (4½-litre)
1929 1st (Speed Six); 2nd 3rd 4th: (4½-litre)
1930 1st 2nd (Speed Six)
      Bentley withdrew from motor racing just after winning at Le Mans in 1930, claiming that they had learned enough about speed and reliability.
    The Wall Street Crash of 1929 affected the Bentley business greatly, with the Great Depression reducing demand for its expensive products. In July 1931, two mortgage payments fell due, and they were "unable to meet these debts". On 10 July, 
the court appointed a receiver to Bentley Motors Limited.  Rolls Royce purchased Bentley, mainly to eliminate a luxury competitor.  All Bentleys produced from 1931 to 2004 used inherited or shared Rolls-Royce chassis, and adapted Rolls-Royce engines, and are described by critics as badge-engineered Rolls-Royces. Then, the two Marques were sold with Bentley going to Volkswagen and Rolls Royce going to BMW.

This Car:
Engine: 6597 CC SOHC In-line 8  (402 cu. In.)
Twin SU HVS Sidedraft Carburetors
Horsepower: 180 @ 3500 RPM
Transmission: 4-Speed Manual
Brakes: 4 Wheel Mechanical drum
Weight: 4800 Pounds
Matching Numbers: Engine, Mechanical & Chassis
Awards: Bentley Driver’s Club Best Restoration 2010
             Dr. Richard Kaufman European Legacy Award
Ownership: Rudolf de Trafford, London, 1927
                 C . Willis Basingstoke, UK, 1932
                 Jack Bailey, UK, next owner
                 B Burnett, UK, 1975
                 David Ayre, Berkshire UK, 2008
                 Ron Rezek, Ashland OR, Nov. 2008