Letters from Readers, April 1947

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Sir,
I was very interested to read the excellent account of 3-litre Bentley history in the February issue. It is, as far as I can make out, the most complete treatise so far compiled on this classic car, but I think there are one or two other small points that might be of interest to readers.

One of the most outstanding features of this model was the fact that decarbonisation and regrinding of valves and seatings was only required at intervals of more than 20,000 miles, this period being very much longer than on contemporary sports cars. Also, each car carried a five-year guarantee — this guarantee was very liberally interpreted by the makers, and was considered to be an outstanding feature of the company’s policy.

You mention that at one time every chassis was guaranteed to do 25 m.p.g. at 30 m.p.h. with the single Smith carburetter — since most present-day Bentley enthusiasts use twin S.U. carburetters, they may be interested to know that the makers claimed as much as 22 m.p.g. for engines so fitted.

The last official price list for the 3-litre model was issued in February 1928, and listed the Speed Model — chassis only — for open coachwork at £925, and the well-known Vanden Plas open 4-seater from £1,125.

Incidentally, does anyone know what has happened to the beautiful little scale model of the 2-seater track-racing 3-litre once raced by Woolf Barnato? This was made by someone employed at the works and used a 2-stroke engine. I have some photographs of this model which I took at the works in 1929 and I remember that it was knocking about at the showrooms right up to the time that the old company passed into the hands of the Receiver. It was beautifully made and could be driven by a small child.
I am, Yours, etc.,
A. F. Rivers Fletcher.
New Barnet, Herts.

Sir,
I read with interest your notes in the March issue regarding the Cowell-Watson Lea-Francis. I thoroughly agree with you that this is a most interesting car, but since it appears that nobody else is going to acknowledge the fact, I would like it to be generally known that the shortening of the chassis and transmission, design and fitting of the new radiator and modifications to the braking, etc., were, in fact, done by us under my supervision, when Mr. Cowell was a partner in this firm, and, in fact, no modifications to the chassis were done by Cowell Watson Ltd. The body and the remainder of the car we have had nothing whatever to do with, and this was actually built by an independent coachworks to the design and order of Cowell Watson Ltd.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Pat Whittet (Pat Whittet & Co.)
Lightwater, Surrey.