Amelia Island

9 March 2013

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Lot 120

1925 Bentley 3-Litre Tourer by Gurney Nutting

  • Chassis no. 930
  • Engine no. 914
  • Registration no. CR9914

Sold for $231,000

80 hp, three-liter OHC four-cylinder engine with twin SU carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, solid front and rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 112 in.

  • One of just 143 3-Litres bodied by Gurney Nutting
  • Original, preserved chassis, engine, body, and UK license plate
  • Complete ownership trail from new; numerous awards included

The first Bentley sports cars were unequaled in their time. After designing aero-engines for the R.A.F. in WWI, Walter Owen Bentley redirected his attention to motor cars. Launched in 1921, his first model was intended to appeal to sportsmen of the motoring world. Powered by a three-liter, 2,966-cubic centimeter four-cylinder engine, it was an immediate success. In January 24, 1920, The Autocar published their first road test: “A Car which Combines Docility in Traffic with Exceptional Speed Potentiality on the Open Road.” The car was continually improved, as The Autocar of January 16, 1925, read, “Impressions of the Latest Model, which is Suitable Alike for the Speed Lover and the Potterer.”

New Bentley 3-Litre buyers included Prince George, the Duke of Kent, and the actresses Beatrice Lillie and Gertrude Lawrence. The example offered here was delivered in February 1925 to John McMeekin, of Southampton, England, and it remains today largely as it was when new, a rarity among this marque. Engine and body swaps on vintage Bentley chassis were common, often to resemble the 3-Litre Tourers that won Le Mans in 1924 and 1927. Fortunately, this car’s body, by noted coachbuilder J. Gurney Nutting, has remained with the chassis and is in remarkably well-preserved condition.

McMeekin retained the Bentley until the 1940s; its second British owner, Captain Ivan Finchow, of Lygarth, Dorset, sold it to Tennessee Rolls-Royce dealer Neil McDade, and it has resided stateside ever since. From McDade, the car passed to noted collector Barney Goldflies, of Ohio, then to Richard Fisher, and finally to George Evenson, of Washington state. The car’s ownership history has been archived since new by Bentley Motors and the enthusiasts’ clubs, and as a result, this Bentley is well-known.

A Bentley like this “Blue Label” tourer is rare. It has survived for 87 years in constant use, but it was always well-maintained and protected. Its Gurney Nutting four-seater body, era-correct British Racing Green paint finish, alloy bonnet, correct nickel-plated radiator shell and brightwork, dual side-mount spares, tan leather interior, full tonneau cover, Auster rear screen, and walnut fascia, displaying original and functional gauges by Smiths, Cambridge, and AT, could not be re-created in any restoration. Its only modifications are twin SU carburetors and accessory electric cooling fans.

The car has been shown at multiple Rolls-Royce Owners Club events over the years, as well as in AACA and CCCA competition. Its honors include a CCCA National First Prize and class placings at RROC meets in British Columbia and at the National Meet.

Fully sorted and ready for touring and club activities, this is the perfect car for the serious collector who loves to use cars. Powerful and responsive to drive, with honest provenance, it is complete and original, reliable, and mechanically straight-forward. This is one of those rare breeds, an under-valued, honest vintage Bentley with no “stories.”

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more