1924 Speed Tourer and 1929 Le Mans Replica will cross the block at annual ‘preservation’ sale
Bonhams has added a pair of special Bentleys to the docket for its preservation-oriented Collectors Motorcars and Automobilia auction, scheduled for October 2 at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. The Bentley’s are a 1924 3-Liter Speed Tourer and a 1929 4.5-liter Le Mans Replica Tourer.
They join the 1913 “London-to-Edinburgh” Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost consigned to the auction earlier.
The 1924 Speed Tourer was produced the same year Bentley began its reign at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. According to Bonhams, chassis No. 897 went to Morgan and Co. for coachwork and then was delivered to the Prince of Liechtenstein, who owned the car for four years.
At some point in the 1930s, the Morgan body was modified from its original two-seat configuration to add two more seats for tourer configuration.
Research also indicates that soon after World War II, with new vehicles not yet available, the Bentley was rebuilt on a frame of chassis No. 780, another 3-liter Speed model originally owned by Glen Kidston, one of the original Bentley Boys and a Le Mans race-winning driver. Afterward, the car was used in many Bentley Drivers Club events.
The consignor, a collector of Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, has owned the car since the early 1980s and has preserved it in what Bonhams terms “remarkable unmolested condition,” with its body still covered in the original rexine fabric and still with its original engine, steering box, transmission and rear axle.
Offered from the estate of David L. Van Schaick is the 1929 Le Mans Replica fabric tourer with bodywork in the style of Vanden Plas. Van Schaick campaigned the car for more than 30 years, Bonhams noted.
The car originally carried more formal closed coachwork and originally was owned by whisky-maker A.W. Whyte of Scotland. The car was rebodied in 1972 and may have gotten a new period-correct 4 1/2-liter engine at the same time.
New Jersey Bentley enthusiast Frank Allocca acquired the car in 1983 and had it flown to the U.S. to use while he was awaiting the restoration of another car. That car completed, Allocca sold the Le Mans Replica to Van Schaick and participated with “bold bravado” in many Bentley Club rallies.