Bentley-Napier

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Service history – Racing cars that simply won’t stop

Although built around a 1929 Bentley chassis, the Bentley-Napier was only created in the early 1970s. The 24-litre monster delivers 580bhp and 1250Ib ft of torque from a 24-litre Napier Sea Lion aero-engine and the whole car weighs in at less than two tonnes. Little wonder its bonnet carries the warning: The Ultimate Laxative.

Although very much in the spirit of Brooklands, the car was created by Peter Morley and David Llewellyn in 1972. Initially they had put the Napier engine into the Sunbeam Tigress chassis but it was later installed in a Bentley frame.

Over the next 25 years, Morley raced the car extensively and enjoyed widespread success: VSCC victories included the Itala, Boulogne and John Holland trophies.

However, Morley suffered a major accident at Oulton Park when a wheel centre pulled out and the shunt left him in hospital for a couple of weeks. The car survived without any significant chassis damage, but during the rebuild a new body was fitted with a revised nose reminiscent of the Napier-Railton.

Through the rest of the 1980s and ’90s, Morley continued the successes and raced the car right up until the day he sold it to Chris Williams in ’98.

“It’s on its second owner, basically; it has never been on public sale: says Williams, who had only previously raced a motorbike. Since he crafted a new exhaust, it has been able to compete in VSCC speed events as well as races.

Amazingly, the top end of the engine hasn’t been apart in 22 years.

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