It is difficult for me from this distance to enter the debate as to whether the recently-discovered three-litre Bentley now in the Donington Collection is the Duff 1922 record-breaking and 1923 Le Mans car.
Historians of the marque have long maintained that this car was production chassis 141 with experimental engine 62 from Clement’s 1922 two-seater; it would be a remarkable coincidence if this unique combination did in fact exist in addition to the actual Duff car. It would seem therefore that the BARC records of the 1922 record attempt referred to by WB in “True or False” in the November 1987 issue are wrong in listing chassis 143.
In support of his case that chassis 141 was not part of Duff’s car, WB refers to a photograph that appeared in The Autocar prior to the 1923 Le Mans and which shows Duff in a 3-litre which by the registration number is probably 141. He interprets (incorrectly I believe) the caption to imply that, in being a production 3-litre, the car depicted is identical to the record breaking/Le Mans car, but is not the same car. However, the photograph shows that the nearside of the body has a deep cutaway but no door. This unusual feature, which is more suited to a competition car than a fully-equipped tourer of the size of a Bentley, is also evident in photographs taken of Duff’s car at Le Mans.
Although not conclusive in itself, this does indicate that it is the same car, and supports the argument that chassis 141 is Duff’s car.
EJ Harris, South Australia