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Bentley 3 Litre

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Bentley 3 Litre
Bentley
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The 3 Litre was the sports car that put Bentley on the automotive map. It was a large car compared to the tiny, lightweight Bugattis then dominating racing, but its innovative technology and strength made up for its weight. The 4000 lb (1800 kg) car won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1924 with drivers, John Duff and Frank Clement. Its weight, size, and speed prompted Ettore Bugatti to call it "the fastest lorry in the world."

CoachworkEdit

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

EngineeringEdit

The 3.0 L (2996 cc/182 in³) straight-4 engine was large for its day, but it was its technical innovations that were most noticed. It was one of the first production engines with 4 valves per cylinder, and these were driven by an overhead camshaft. It was also among the first with two spark plugs per cylinder, pent-roof combustion chambers, and twin carburetors. It was extremely undersquare, 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 roughly 70 hp (52 kW), allowing the 3 Litre to hit 80 mph (129 km/h). The Speed Model could reach 90 mph (145 km/h), while the Super Sports passed 100 mph (161 km/h).

ProductionEdit

The 3 Liter 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 of 1921. Production lasted through 1929, by which time the car had been surpassed by Bentley's own 4½ Litre car.

  • Experimental: 3
  • 3 Litre: 1088
  • Speed Model: 513
  • Super Sports: 18

GalleryEdit


Bentley arnage hood-emblem
BENTLEY

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Racing Vehicles: Speed 8


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W.O. Bentley Corporate website A subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group

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