1925 Le Mans’ Bentley 3 Litre MH 7580 is set to appear at 2016 London Classic Car Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 8, 2016

The historic Bentley 3 Litre MH 7580 car that participated in the prestigious 1925 Le Mans 24 hours race will be given the place of honor at the 2016 London Classic Car show this February. Racer Georgina Riley, a member of the historic Bentley Belles racing team, will be behind the wheel of this classic and very important icon of Bentley’s motorsports history.

Bentley Belles is an all-female four-strong team that has competed in the Le Mans Classic, the Mille Miglia, and the Benhafields’s 24 hours race in Portimao. For lovers of iconic and classic cars, the London Classic Car Show offers the chance to see these beautifully crafted historic pieces up close.

They would even see them in action since the cars would be actually driven for the crowds to see them on the move as well as smell and hear the hypnotic purrs of their engines. Restoration of the original Bentley car was started by William Medcalf of Vintage Bentley back in 2001.

For the past 14 years, the Bentley 3 Litre Team Car was painstakingly restored and looked after by Medcalf, preserving much of what was in the original car that today. It can be said with pride though that the car is still the original.

For example, though the car is currently sporting a more aerodynamic windscreen to improve its speed, it still has its original Vander Plas four-seater body. The few additional improvements include a larger 25-gallon tank, an uprated engine worthy of ‘Supersports’ rating and a slightly stiffened suspension.

This Bentley car participated in the 1925 run of the Le Mans 24 hr race but had to retire on lap 19 after running out of fuel. This was caused by a last-minute rule change requiring cars to race with their hoods up for the first 20 laps thereby affecting the car’s fuel efficiency.

It led the race since it started but Number 10 – the number given to the Bentley 3 Litre for the race – ultimately failed to finish. The 1925 run was the only Le Mans race during the period of 1924 to 1930 where the Bentley 3 Litre did not win.

British Racing Driver’s Club founder and 1927 Le Mans 24 hr race winner Dudley Genjafield together with racer Herbert Kensington Moir were the Bentley Motor Works drivers for this 1925 race. After failing the 1925 race, the MH7580 was used as a demonstrator car for Bentley before it was sold to a private owner.

The car led an active and colorful service and in the 1970s, it even completed over 1000 miles in one day to prove its worth. In 2005, Bentley Drivers Club Concours at Hatfield House named it ‘Car of the Show’.

In 2013, as preparation for the inaugural Benjafield’s 24 hour race the following year, William Medcalf and Paul Carter drove the MH7580 non-stop for 24 hours covering over 1400 miles in the process at the Portimao race circuit to prove and test its race capability.

This year, after more than 90 years, the MH7580 is set to return at Le Mans to join in the Le Mans Classic. For William Medcalf, he considers it a privilege to be a part of the restoration of the Bentley 3 Litre MH7580, one of the most historic cars in British motorsport.

Press Release

BENTLEY MOTORS FIRST LE MANS CAR TO STAR AT LONDON CLASSIC CAR SHOW

Bentley Motors’ first works entry Le Mans 24hr car will be playing a starring role at the London Classic Car Show this February.

This incredibly important piece of Bentley’s motorsport history will be making a public appearance at the London Classic Car Show, where Georgina Riley will be taking the wheel. Georgina is a member of the Bentley Belles racing team – a four-strong all-female historic racing team that has competed in the likes of the Mille Miglia, the Le Mans Classic and the Benjafield’s 24 hours race in Portimao.

The London Classic Car Show is a rare opportunity to see many famous, beautiful and iconic cars in one place. Not only are the cars on display, they are also fired up and driven, giving crowds the chance to see, hear and smell them on the move.

William Medcalf Vintage Bentley has looked after the Bentley 3 Litre Team Car for the last 14 years, having given it a complete and historically sympathetic restoration in 2001, and fully rebuilding it again in the last couple of years. The car remains remarkably original, and William Medcalf preserved as much of that as possible while working on it.

The car retains its original Vanden Plas four-seater body, and it was fitted with a lower, more aerodynamic windscreen than was standard, in a bid to improve its speed. It also came with a large, 25-gallon fuel tank, stiffened suspension and an engine that was uprated to ‘Supersports’ specification.

The car raced in the 1925 running of the Le Mans 24hr race, although unfortunately failed to finish, retiring on lap 19. A last-minute rule change meant that cars had to run with their hood up for the first 20 laps, which affected their fuel efficiency. Despite leading the race from the off, Number 10 inevitably ran out of fuel dashing W.O. Bentley’s hopes.

Herbert Kensington Moir and Dudley Benjafield, the founder of the British Racing Drivers’ Club and winner of the 1927 Le Mans 24hr race, were the Bentley Motors Works drivers for the race.

After Le Mans, MH7580 was driven hard as a company demonstrator before being sold into private hands. The car has always been in active service and in the 1970s completed over 1000 miles in a day just to prove her stripes. It was also named ‘Car of the Show’ at the Bentley Drivers’ Club Concours at Hatfield House in 2005. In 2013 MH7580 was driven by William Medcalf and Paul Carter non-stop for 24 hours at the Portimao race circuit, covering over 1400 miles, in preparation for the inaugural Benjafield’s 24 hour race that took place the following year.

This year it will be making an exciting return to racing at Le Mans after more than 90 years, when it takes part in the Le Mans Classic, alongside other notable cars of the period.

William Medcalf said: “It has been a privilege to work on such an important part of British motorsport history, and it will be fantastic to see it make a rare appearance in front of British crowds. The London Classic Car Show’s special setup means that attendees will not only be able to see this car up close, but watch it on the move as well.”

Topics: bentley, classic car, uk

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