I encb.)se the latest photographs of my Speed Six Bentley which I have been reconstructing which shows the car in the form in which it is now -going to remain for this season. Here are some details. First, the chassis : the frame itself is of 1930 vintage, specially shortened to give a wheelbase of 10 feet. The front axle and gearbox which we are using at present were both taken from a 1931 Long-chassis saloon—the axle was fitted about 18 months ago, and the box fOur months ago. The engine, fitted in September, 1936, is a 1932 6i-litre—overbored thirty thou. This engine was equipped originally with an induction manifold incorporating twin up-draught Zenith car buretters, but that layout has been replaced by a straight-through ” pipe” carrying two vertical type S.T.J.s which are fed by twin Autopulse electric fuel

pumps. Ignition is provided by an M.L. magneto and a Lucas Sports Coil and Delco-Remy Distributor, both, of which deliver their ” urge ” to K.L.G. “K.1.” sparking plugs. Apart from altering the water-pump to make it fit into a recess in the header-tank of the special low radiator no modifications have been made to the engine, or any of its accessories. In fact, we have deliberately refrained from tuning the big motor in any way because we are getting all the power we want from it and at the same time it is delightfully flexible, and, for its size, quite surprisingly economical. The clutch is absolutely standard ; but a decidedly ” non-standard ” clutchstop of gigantic proportions has taken the place of the rather flimsy original. This valuable component has been the means of obtaining a gear-change so rapid that, until the oil in the gear-box is thoroughly warmed, it is almost impossible to move the lever fast enough. The rear axle is of the ” straight cut ” variety ; it is an ex Le Mans ” blown ” ft-litre “back end,” with a ratio of 3:1 and, although it produces a steady whine, it is by no means unpleasantly or annoyingly noisy. This axle, combined with 21 inch wheels carrying 7.00 tyres, gives an ideal set of gear ratios right through the box—high enough to be very easy on engine revs., and yet by no means too high to allow really savage acceleration from a standing start. (The original arrangements at the ” stern ” were 6.00 by 18 tyres and wheels—which we still use at the front

end—but we soon discovered that the car was hopelessly low geared with these, and so we have worked up to the present rear wheel size via an intermediate period of running with 5.25 by 21s.). The difference between the front and rear wheel sizes is very marked when one is looking at a side view of the car, but the general effect, in my opinion at any rate, is rather pleasingly unusual. The braking system has been constantly subject to attention and modification—the two major alterations were fitting all the brake drums with large induction and extractor air scoops, and altering the shoes and drums to allow for the use of much stouter (Ferodo M.R.) linings—but, until we fitted a large Dewandre Servo a few months ago, the stopping qualities were not too good : now, however, the braking is really superlative for a big, heavy car

and the whole ” anchoring ” system works beautifully smoothly from any speed. And that brings niz, to the end of my description of the chassis. Before going any further I want to explain the use of the editorial “we,” which has cropped up several times in the preceding paragraph, and to do that, I want to pay a really sincere tribute to my great friend L. L. Hanks of the Garage, Theale, Berks. In his workshops at Theale the big Bentley has steadily grown and developed, and, although I have stood about fiddling with an imposing-looking spanner from time to time, all the credit is due to ” Laurie ” and his chief mechanic Colin Campbell—not forgetting those two stout-hearted lads, Bob and Jim. Mrs. Hanks, too, more than deserves all my gratitude for innumerable cups of tea, delicious snacks of food and cheerful words of encouragement at all hours of the day and night, and for never failing to save the situation even when tempers and knuckles were most frayed ! So when that little word ” we ” crops up I would like it to be remembered

that six people have all played their part in the conception and construction of a machine that I know has come to be so much more than “just a car” to all of us who have watched and assisted in its growth. In July of last year I had grown tired of the body then fitted to the car—it was quite smart and fairly comfortable, but I felt that, now that the chassis was as near perfect as we were likely to get it, the car deserved something better. Accordingly we removed the old body, gave the chassis a last check over and then sent it into Messrs. Markham’s Coachworks in Reading. A new body, beautifully built to my design, began to take shape, and when I returned from a summer holiday, I found my old Speed Six so changed that I had great difficulty in recognising the new vehicle. The new body is panelled in steel—with the exception of the doors and bonnet— and is far more roomy and comfortable than the old one : it is also far more pleasant to look upon, and very much heavier. A bench type seat provides ample accommodation for three people if need be, and, for solo driving, a dropping arm-rest—set a little to the off-sideeliminates that infuriating tendency to slide sideways on the seat when taking a fast right-hand bend which used to make my hair stand on end when piloting an American coupe I once owned. A roomy luggage locker, a really efficient hood and side-curtains and partially sunken spare wheels are all provided ; the carpets and upholstery are of royal blue ; the dashboard is of polished oak, with instruments by Smith’s ; and a Philco de Luxe wireless reposes beneath the scuttle. The extra weight of the new body has, as we hoped it would, greatly improved the car’s road-holding at speed,

and a grand, solid ” feel ” is obtained by tightening up the Andre Telecontrol shock-absorbers which are a great aid to comfort at slow speeds over indifferent roads when one slackens them off. Incidentally, the car is now fitted with Double Hartfords, Telecontrol operated, front and rear, and, in addition, at the back we have fitted a second pair of ordinary Double Hartfords transversely across the frame in front of the axle, which are kept sufficiently tensioned to take the load off the rear Telecon.trols when the latter are ” soft.” The increased weight at the rear has made it necessary to fit an extra leaf in each of the back springs, but the car’s performance has remained unaffected by the additional cwts. In conclusion, here is a short table of the car’s best performance figures, and let me say that, although I make no wild claims for the machine as it stands to-day, I’m more than certain that the old ” B ” would make a good sparring partner for anything on two wheels or four that I am likely to encounter on the roads of this country or any other :

m.p.h. Max. Speed (Speedo. reading) … 118 ditto (Third gear) … 100

(2,000 revs, in top gear) … … 70

Safe max. speed in second gear …

ditto in first gear … 45 (My rev, counter is calibrated with green from 3,000 to 3,500, and red from 3,500 to 4,000). Standstill to 70 m.p.h. (using 1st., 2nd., and 3rd gears) …14 secs. Well, that’s that. I hope this brief description may be of interest to some of your readers—and especially to all those who, like myself, have a soft spot in their hearts for the grand old Bentleys. There’s plenty of life in lots of the old dogs yeti I am, Yours etc.,