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Bentley Motors
Press Release


1921 3-litre ‘Chassis Number 3’ sells for $962,500

(Pebble Beach, California. 22 August 2011)  –  90 years after Ivor Llewellyn (W.O. Bentley’s third customer) took delivery of  chassis number 3 (registered AX 3827 in the UK) for the princely sum of £1,150, that same 3-Litre graced the Gooding & Co. auction at Pebble Beach, commanding a price of $962,500*.

Chassis number 3 is an extraordinary, ‘matching-numbers’ car with original aluminium coachwork and brass brightwork. The marque’s signature craftsmanship and engineering capabilities, introduced by company founder W.O. Bentley, are evident even in this oldest surviving production 3 Litre. 

The true test of the engineering of the 3 Litre came with wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in 1924 and 1927, the start of an epic run of five Bentley victories in eight years. The legend had been born in a successful albeit short period since the founding of Bentley in 1919 and this sporting heritage remains at the heart of all Bentley models today. 

 “Pebble Beach is the ideal venue to showcase Bentleys old and new,” said Chairman & Chief Executive, Wolfgang Dürheimer.  “On the same day that Gooding & Co. auctioned the world’s oldest surviving production Bentley, we hosted a private preview of a brand new model.  During Monterey week, the enthusiasm for the evolution of the automobile is palpable.”

Modern-day Bentleys at Pebble Beach

Displayed prominently on this year’s concept lawn was the limited-edition 631hp Supersports Convertible ISR (Ice Speed Record), inspired by world rally champion, Juha Kankkunen’s epic drive in February this year on the perilous frozen Baltic Sea, off the coast of Finland. In his hands, the all-wheel drive, biofuel-powered 6-litre, 12-cylinder Continental Supersports convertible set a speed of 205.48 mph (330.695 km/h) eclipsing Kankkunen’s own ice speed record of 199.83 mph (321.6 km/h) set in 2007 in the Continental GT.

In 2009, Bentley’s flagship Mulsanne made its world debut on the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance stage in front of the world’s most ardent automotive enthusiasts.

* Note to editors: Gooding & Co’s final auction price includes 10% buyer’s premium.

-- ENDS –

Accredited journalists: for more comprehensive information, photos and video of the Bentley lineup, please visit www.BentleyMedia.comFor further information about this press release please contact:

Graeme Russell
Head of PR & Communications
617 488 8518 / 248 464 9100

Valentine O’Connor
Public Relations Manager
617 488 8517 / 248 613 7438

Notes to editors

  1. Bentley Motors is the third largest R&D investor in the UK's automotive sector and the 18th largest nationally. The company employs almost 4,000 people in Crewe which is home to all its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production. The combination of fine craftsmanship, using skills that have been handed down through generations, alongside engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology is unique to UK luxury vehicle manufacturers such as Bentley. It is also an example of high-value British manufacturing at its best. Bentley exports over £500m worth of goods every year to established markets like the US, as well as emerging markets such as China and South America.
  2. Bentley’s global sales for the first half of 2011 have increased by 20% on the same period last year. The surge in sales has been driven by demand for Bentley's newly launched Continental GT and the popularity of the brand in China, where sales have increased by 57%. Europe and the Americas have also performed strongly. Europe has increased its sales by a quarter and the Americas were up by 23%

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