Few automobiles are as beloved by enthusiasts as the 6½-Liter Bentley racing cars. The Speed 6 in particular, said to be W.O.’s favorite of all the cars to bear the Bentley name, established itself as the iconic racing car of the early ’30s. In the hands of the legendary ‘Bentley Boys,’ including company chairman Captain Woolf Barnato, Bentley achieved four consecutive victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 1927 and 1930 in addition to numerous other successes. Today, some 80 years after the last examples were built, these early Bentleys still inspire passion and command allegiance wherever they are seen.
The car offered here, the 1949 Bentley B Special Speed 8 Touring, is a truly stunning yet drivable homage to those 1930s racing Bentleys. It was built from Bentley and Rolls-Royce components for the consignor by Racing Green Engineering Limited of Carmarthenshire, Wales, in 2011. It features an original 1949 Bentley Mk VI chassis which is fitted with a period B81 6,516-cc straight-eight engine backed by a Bentley four-speed transmission. The custom coachwork of the Speed 8 follows the construction and design of the original Le Mans cars with an ash frame covered in aluminum panels and fabric. It is fitted with a proper fold-flat windscreen and wind deflectors. The interior is nicely appointed with an aluminum instrument panel fitted with high-quality reproductions of the original instruments, including Connelly leather and high-quality woven carpets.
Those lucky enough to own period examples of the 6½-Liter racers are often reluctant to part with them. Consequently, they are nearly impossible to obtain in today’s market. The car offered here represents an exceptional opportunity to obtain the next best thing. Eminently drivable with modern reliability and in exceptional condition, this car is truly stunning in all respects and is fully ready to be enjoyed. It is well suited to vintage tours and rallies and will surely be welcome wherever fine period racing cars are appreciated.
This Bentley will be offered at RM Auctions’ Fort Lauderdale auction this 6-7 April. Previously held under the Auctions America banner, the 2017 Fort Lauderdale sale generated an impressive $17.3 million total with bidders hailing from nearly all 50 states and 11 countries around the world. The sale was topped by a beautifully restored 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster at $1,200,000, as well as the noted JLG Autocrib Collection, a group of 26 influential Porsche models offered without reserve.
RM Auctions’ 2018 Fort Lauderdale auction, the 16th annual event, will see approximately 300 quality collector cars cross the podium during a two-day sale, ranging from American classics to European sports cars, Detroit muscle, hot rods, customs, and modern collectibles.