TRYING A SECOND-HANDER
V1.—A 1927 4-SEATER 3-LITRE BENTLEY
Engine : 4-cylinders, 80 mm. x 140 mm. and stroke. Single overhead camshaft. Gears : 1st, 10.34 to 1 ; 2nd, 6,41 to 1 ; 3rd,
5.21 to 1 ; top, 3.92 to 1.
Wheelbase : 9ft. 9iins.
Track : 4ft. 8ins.
Chassis weight : 23 cwt.
Complete car. 26 cwt.
Tank capacity : 11 gallons.
Speeds on gears : 44 m.p.h. on 2nd; 60 m.p.h.
on 3rd ; 78 m.p.h. on top.
Braking distance from 40 m.p.h. : 46ft. In re
WHEN a firm starts to make motor cars, and with its first model springs into a position in the automobile world unattained by any of its rivals, there must be something more than usually remarkable about that model. Such was the case of the famous 3-litre Bentley which brought its name to the position of being a household word among motorists, and which has made history both on its own, and on behalf of the motor industry of this country.
Whatever may happen to the Bentley car under its new regime, whether new models are introduced or not, the name itself has gained such a position that nothing can ever alter it. The foundation of that name was the 3-litre 4-cylinder car which first regained tor this country some of the laurels of international racing after we had ceased to take an active part in the Grand Prix races.
In considering this model as a second-hand car, there is a great difference between it and the normal used vehicle, as the very policy which governed its design and material, has had a far reaching effect on its value through the years. There are many people who try to impress on us the fact that motorcars when new, whatever their particular points, are only worth so much a pound, and their value in so many seasons is decided merely on a fixed scale of depreciation, and that after a certain number of years they automatically reach scrap value and are not worth further attention.
We are willing to admit that with the majority of mass-produced utility vehicles such is the case, but there will always be exceptions, especially in the field of sports cars. If a car is sufficiently well built in the first place, and possesses sufficient individuality of design and performance, its value will always be sufficient to make periodical overhauls and replacements well worth while, and this in turn will cause the value to be maintained much better than in the case with cars whose production is legion, and whose models are continually changing. When, through H. M. Bentley and Partners of 3, Hanover Court, who specialise in Bentleys, we had a
4-seater sports 3-litre for a few days, we were able to realise once more the indefinable but none-the-less defin
ite fascination, of a car which is built to an ideal of mechanical excellence, and not to the more sordid standards of low price and large sales. Modern developments have undoubtedly given us cars of much higher performance for the same size, which in competition work entirely supercede the model we were trying, but this somehow does not detract from the pleasure of driving the Bentley, as its performance
is in itself sufficiently good to satisfy almost anyone but the racing man, while the manner in which it achieves its performance is almost more important than the figures themselves. The car seemed to show no signs whatever of being 4 years old. It looked the same as it must have done in its first season, and it ran like a chr which has just passed through a period of careful running in. Its mechanical silence was remarkable and its oil consump tion—always a barometer of wear and tear—quite negligible. On a cold morning it started at the first touch of the starter button, and its flexibility was amaz
ing. This may not seem very important in a fast car, but it really is, and on long journeys a motor which will, when required, roll gently through a crowded town at 10 m.p.h. or less on top gear without fuss or snatch is very pleasant indeed.
Once in open country again the very easily operated gear change calls for use if the full performance is to be enjoyed, and the acceleration by this means is definitely good, and has the advantage of being proportionately better at high speeds than at low, as the figures show. The maximum speed on the level was 78 m.p.h. which requires a fairly long stretch of road to reach, but which is held without any fuss owing to the engine’s ability to pull a high gear. This is extremely pleasant on a long run as it enliances the feeling that nothing is being overstressed, and means a higher average speed without
fatigue. 70 m.p.h. can be maintained as a cruising speed, with plenty of throttle left, it being a peculiarity of high geared cars that a comfortable cruising speed is near their maximum. At 60 m.p.h. the engine is only doing some 2,500 r.p.m., which is another reason for the seemingly everlasting properties of this machine.
high-geared without being heavy, and with plenty of life in it. This enables the driver to “chuck the car about” under perfect control and with the minimum of hand movement, while he can always feel exactly what the front wheels are doing even on the greasiest surface, making skid corrections instant and almost automatic. The rear wheels did not at first seem to hold the road as well as the front, but suitable adjustment of the Hartfords all round effected great improvement in this respect. The road worthiness in general is of that high standard which only extensive experience of speed work can give, and makes one long to set off on long journeys for no other purpose than to enjoy driving the car. The petrol consumption
taken over a fastErun of 161 miles, was 14 miles per gallon of B.P. “Plus,” which suited the motor perfectly. This figure is considerably lower than we have obtained on similar models, suggesting that the carburation was set too rich on this car. The brakes of this model have been famous,
but it is very interesting to note that the actual braking figu: es obtained are equal, within veiy small limits, to the best obtained on any car built to-day, which shows how far ahead of their time they were when first introduced. They are direct operated without servo assistance, and it seems that this system, provided the car is not too heavy, gives the most positive and best graduated braking.
When it is realised that one of these cars can be bought, in first-class condition, for the price of a cheap, mass produced small car which it will outlast many times, it is small wonder that so many enthusiasts find them such an attractive proposition. Moreover, if given the reasonable care that such a car deserves, they will prove a thoroughly sound investment for many seasons to come.
A Veteran’s Record.
THERE are motorists to-day who insist that the average life of a car should not be allowed to exceed three years at which age, they say, it should be consigned to the scrap-heap. Others magnanimously grant five years of activity, but there are few who consider that a car of ten years old is worth petrol and oil.
In actual fact there arc hundreds of 15 or 20 year old cars still in existence, whilst the present popularity of “old crock” trials has drawn many even older models—forgotten and unused for years— from a restful obscurity.
An elementary school teacher in Central Europe, however, has just supplied information which probably establishes his car’s claim to a record life of continuous service. He bought the car secondhand 19 years ago—almost a record for ownership !—and apparently even then did not know its make. He has now discovered a plate bearing the chassis number and the name of the makers–the Wolseley Motor Car Co., Ltd. Records show that the car was built in 1904, yet this Hungarian motorist writes that it is still being used and does long journeys without any trouble ! On the three-year plan this veteran Wolseley has therefore enjoyed nine lives but, unlike the proverbial cat, is still going strong and ready for a tenth.
An Argentine Trial.
THE first reliability trial of the Association Automovilistica Argentina was held recently over a 341 Kilometre course, starting and finishing at Buenos Aires. An average speed of 40 km.p.h. had to be maintained, and secret checks were in operation at various points where the majority of the 38 competitors lost marks. Only 10 of the entrants completed the course with absolutely clean sheets, among whom was Mr. E. F. Greene, on a Humber “Snipe.” while another “Snipe.” driven by Mr. Cyril Atkinson, was unfortunately a few seconds out at the secret check, but completed the course to time and was penalised 5 marks. The trial was run on similar lines to the type with which we are familiar in England, and aroused great interest in Argentine motoring circles.
The Wanderers’ Return.
TWO young men from Widnes who, a few months ago, set out on a motorcycle and sidecar in search of adventure in Africa, have now returned to England. Their trip included a remarkable ride across the ” Dark Continent,” during which they set up a record by travelling from Cairo to Capetown in three months and two days. These young men, Parrell and Johnson, did not start with the object of making records or doing anything spectacular,
but rather with a view to having a look at the world, and to getting away from industrial England. They certainly had their full share of adventure, and, to judge by the experiences they related at the .Ariel works in Birmingham, they are to be congratulated on getting back safe and sound. Their worst misfortune was an, encounter with a fellow-countryman who overtook them when they were struggling through terrible country with a load of guns, trophies, souvenirs and spare clothing. This fellow adventurer, having a ” safari ” lorry, offered to take on, their impedimenta, to relieve their Arid l of the burden. They gladly accepted the offer, but on reaching the agreed meeting place they instantly regretted their trustfulness, for the ” Samaritan ” did not turn. up and they never saw him again. So the men from Widnes arrived in Bulawayo with nothing but their motorcycle and the clothes they were wearing
However, if they lost their trophies then, they did not return to England empty-handed, for they brought with them the skins of many animals, including that of a leopard, and a great many reminders of their encounters with natives, such as tribal dolls and, so forth. They were full of praise for their machine and their praise for it went deeper than enthusiasm, for on not a few occasions their lives depended upon its performance.