1927 Bentley 3 Litre Speed Model
Chassis Number : DE 1209 Horsepower : 70 Displacement : 4-cylinder, 3.0 L Wheelbase : 130"
The three liter Bentley was a winner as soon as it began to compete. It won many races in 1927, including the famous Le Mans. It repeated this feat in 1928. The Le Mans cars were similar to the “speed model” version, which could be bought for its style and swiftness. The speed model was characterized by a red enamel background behind the winged “B” on the radiator shell. The favorite of many British sportsmen, was replaced in 1928 by the larger four and a half liter model. Because of its lightness and overall handling characteristics, it is preferred by some Bentley enthusiasts over the more powerful, later models.
This car was purchased from the third American owner. The first American owner, New Englander Alan Bemis, purchased it in New York City in 1934. Bemis was anxious to participate in racing and soon joined The Automobile Racing Club of America, where he diced with this car, as well as 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 acquired the car in essentially 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The car has all of its original components, except the troublesome vacuum tank has been replaced by electric fuel pumps, although the previous device has been retained for possible reinstallation. This would appear to be the only vintage Bentley which was ever in road racing competition in the United States.