'Ultimate naturally aspirated Bentley' leads Amelia Island sale

| 4 Mar 2013

A 1928 Bentley 4½ Litre Semi-Le mans Tourer is expected to make $2-2.5million at Gooding’s Florida sale on Friday.

The machine was originally delivered to Buenos Aires, but returned to the UK a year later when it was sold to Gerald Bevan.

A close friend of ‘Bentley Boy’ Sir Tim Birkin, Bevan had the machine upgraded to resemble a Le Mans Team Car.

The changes included a heavy crank, magnesium Blower-style crankcase, bigger Le Mans fuel tank and large-diameter rev counter. Leaving it, in Gooding’s words, as the ‘ultimate-specification, unsupercharged Bentley’.

MF3153 has received a complete restoration by experts Richard Cresswell, Graham Moss and Tim Houlding. As a result it won Best of Show at the 2005 Bentley Drivers Club Concours.

In what is the firm’s first big sale since a record-breaking week in Scottsdale, a 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic will likely follow the Bentley in the value stakes – it’s estimated to make $1.1-1.4million. The same car sold at Gooding for $1,705,000 in 2011 and featured in C&SC in February that year.

The first of just 12, the Carrozzeria Ghia-styled machine had the same owner for 55 years and took class honours in the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Post-War Preservation category.

Two other big-money lots come in the form of a 1965 Aston Martin Short Chassis Volante and a 1966 Ferrari 275GTS.

Valued at $1.5-1.8million, the Aston was discovered in South Africa after spending more than 40 years in storage and has been restored to concours condition.

The 275GTS has already won awards including Best in Class at Ferrari’s 60th Anniversary Concours at Fiorano. It’s estimated to fetch $850,000–1,100,000.

Further machines of particular interest include a 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7, which is estimated to sell for $450-550,000 in the 911’s 50th-anniversary year, and a 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra that is expected to make even more, at $850k-1,000,000.

Keep your eyes glued to C&SC.com for the auction’s results. In the meantime you can browse the full catalogue on Gooding’s website.

Pictures: Gooding & Co.