Your chance to own a piece of automotive history will take place this August at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Auction company Gooding & Company will be selling what’s believed to be the very first production Bentley, a 1921 Bentley 3-Liter with chassis number 3.
Bentley originally built two experimental cars with chassis numbers ‘EXP 1’ and ‘EXP 2’ before the 1921 model that we see here. The car with chassis EXP 1 no longer exists, while EXP 2 was retained by Bentley. The third car was sold to a man named Welshman Ivor Llewelyn who just so happens to be the father of Desmond Llewelyn, the man who played ‘Q’ in the original James Bond movies.
The car went through several owners in the UK, none of whom actually realized its value. In fact, the car was even raced until the late 1940s when it was rediscovered and noted by the Bentley Drivers Club to be the first production model to bear the Bentley name.
1921 Bentley 3-Liter chassis number 3
It eventually made its way to the U.S. in the 1960s when it was partially restored. Surprisingly, it remains one of the few early-model Bentleys to retain its original body, engine and gearbox--an attribute the EX2 retained by Bentley can’t even claim.
Regular Bentley 3-Liters from the same era sell for around $250,000 so we suspect this one should gather considerably more. The current owner is a man by the name of Thurston Twigg-Smith who is looking to downsize his collection of auto to focus on vintage Rolls-Royces.
[Gooding & Company via Wheels Blog]