In the early years of 24 Hours of Le Mans, one automaker quickly amassed an impressive array of wins: Bentley. The winners from 1927 to 1930 were all driving Bentleys, but that wasn’t the first time a Bentley competed in the race. To find the answer to that question, you’d have to go back a few more years to 1923. During that race, the Bentley known as Chassis 141 set a lap record and finished fourth overall.
After a long and circuitous path, that same Bentley recently sold at auction for — as per Autoblog’s reporting — over $3.7 million. As Autoblog’s Ben Hsu pointed out, that early Le Mans history came full circle with the sale: Simon Kidston, whose firm handled the sale, is the nephew of “Bentley Boy” Glen Kidston, who won 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1929 and 1930.
Chassis 141 was, as per Kidston’s website, believed to have been lost for decades. As Autoblog reports, its history after its racing days includes being used to transport Saint Bernards and for an unspecified role in an undertaker’s business. In the 1980s, it entered the collection of the Donington Car Museum.
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Eventually, collector Peter Briggs traded a Formula 1 car from his collection for Chassis 141, which he began work to restore. The identity of the car’s new owner is a mystery, but Chassis 141 is set to take part in this year’s Le Mans Classic, set to run from June 29 to July 2 of this year. It’s a homecoming a century in the making.
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