Our car is the only vintage Bentley to race in America pre-WWII. It is in unrestored, original condition.
The three liter Bentley was a winner as soon as it competed. It won many races in 1927, including the famous Le Mans. It repeated this feat in 1928. The Le Mans cars were like the “speed model” version, bought for its style and swiftness. A red enamel background behind the winged “B” on the radiator shell characterized the speed model. It was the favorite of many British sportsmen, but was later replaced in 1928 by the larger four and a half liter model. Because of its lightness and overall handling characteristics, some Bentley enthusiasts preferred it over the more powerful, later models.
I purchased this car from the third American owner. The first American owner, New Englander Alan Bemis, purchased it in New York City in 1934. Bemis was eager to take part in racing and soon joined The Automobile Racing Club of America, where he raced with this car, and with others later on. The illustration shows him competing in an ARCA race at Marstons Mills on Cape Cod where he finished fourth. He kept the car for several years while he worked at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
We gained the car in a mostly original condition except for the post-war paint job from the next owner. In a letter dated February 14, 1990, Mr. Bemis, now an octogenarian, bemoaned “I have always castigated myself for selling it and tried to buy it back from the subsequent owner”.
The car has all of its original components, except the troublesome vacuum tank were replaced by electric fuel pumps, although the previous device was retained for potential reinstallation. This would appear to be the only vintage Bentley which was ever in road racing.