TESTING A SECOND-HANDER
A 6-LITRE BENTLEY OF 1928
Because few people can these days afford an annual tax of £28 10s., and a consumption of fuel exceeding 1,000 gallons for a moderate year’s motoring, the Big Six Bentley is available second hand for extremely low sums. Nevertheless, it is ever an interesting study to the enthusiast, who may even contemplate limiting his annual mileage and perhaps licensing only for half the year, to enable him to experience the joys of owning a really big-engined aristocrat that invariably carries its age lightly. At the suggestion of Mr. Terence Windrum, of Messrs. Windrum and Garstin, of 14, Hansard Mews, W.14, we recently covered 350 miles in a week-end with a single-carburetter long-chassis fabric saloon of
1928 vintage. Outwardly the car was very clean and cracks in the fabric scuttle were not unduly prominent. The leather upholstery was in good condition and the interior generally was like new. One’s first impression on the road was the ease with which this very big car could be handled. Though thP radiator cap was rather more than 6 ft. from the driving seat both wings were visible and the big steering wheel revealed no lost motion. If the steering was somewhat heavy and transmitted road-wheel movement, it had a most generous lock, was extremely accurate, and possessed full castor action.
At once the firm thoroughbred rigidity of the car appealed and if frame flexion was more evident than is the case with short-chassis sports-jobs, this merely served to impart life to the car, especially above 66 m.p.h. The road-holding was beyond reproach.
The right-hand gear-lever was conveniently placed and pleasant to handle, with a good reverse catch. Silent changes were somewhat difficult to acquire, but at worst only a crunch resulted. Double declutching assisted changing up, fast from 1st to 2nd, thereafter more slowly, the movement from 3rd into top being especially pleasant. Downward changes responded to normal double-declutching with a restraint on excessive revving, but at low speeds it was possible to go from top to 3rd with a single movement. The clutch was light, with a long pedal movement, and was biting only at the end of the travel. The vacuum-servo brakes were entirely adequate, silent and smooth in action, though naturally, being designed to arrest 9 tons of motor-car from 80 m.p.h., heavy application on wet roads would lock the wheels. If the engine Stopped the pedal went rigid and the hand-brake had to be used, which was only inconvenient when reversing, as it obstructed the gear-lever. The engine started instantly from cold and warmed
up surprisingly rapidly, though the normal temperature Of 80′-90C quickly dropped if the car was left standing. It was an engine sensitive to the ignition control. Everything worked beautifully, excepting the screen wipers which needed a new fuse. The minor controls were pleasantly taut and the switches likewise, and the interior panel-work and instrument board tasteful, yet completely unobtrusive. Puel consumption worked out at 9 m.p.g., under -ery varied conditions, the fuel gauge was accurate, and the engine ran until the tank was bone dry. We ran on both coil and magneto ignition and used straight Shell or Benzole mixture. The engine worked with -a complete lack of effort, yet with more ” life ” than that of a purely luxury car. Cruising speed was anything from 50 to 70 m.p.h. and we attained the latter speed on several straight stretches without feeling the car to be doing anything at all exceptional. The fiat-out maximum we had no opportunity of checking, but 75 to 80 m.p.h. should be easily attainable. The acceleration was most satisfying, again with an entire lack of effort, and even from a crawl in top gear the pick-up was impressive. The ability to run like this up to over 60 m.p.h. on third gear left many sports-cars standing. No oil was added, and at the end of the run the gauge was not unsteady on corners ; it varied from almost nil to approximately
40 lb. pressure with the engine speed. lights were good, the headlights having a big right-hand dipper-lever, and the switch incorporating a neat indicator stating which lamps were on, through a small window over the ammeter. The body was completely weather-tight, had a big luggage box, and silently shutting doors. The windows did not rattle. The interior mirror was excellently
positioned. The gears were quiet, particularly third. And it seems absurd to conclude by quoting the price, which includes a year’s tax—/,75. This car was one of a considerablestock of Bentleys which can always be seen at Messrs. Windrum and Garstin’s premises.