Bentley wasn’t always known as a Rolls-Royce for more sporting individuals. Prior to the company’s purchase by Rolls-Royce in 1931, Bentley was responsible for creating exquisite vehicles that were bonafide performance machines on the track. In 1924, W.O. Bentley’s creations would experience the first of many Le Mans wins.
The 1924 Bentley 3/8-Liter “Hawkeye Special” is a very unique vehicle for plenty of reasons, one being its very origins. This vehicle started out as chassis 477, a highly-desirable “Red Badge” Speed model. What makes this vehicle so special is the fact that most Bentley buyers purchased the rolling chassis and applied their own coachwork at significant cost. The Hawkeye Special features a distinctive alloy body created in the early 1970s by renowned builder John Guppy and Hawkeye Wijkander, hence its namesake.
The 3/8 designation stands for a 3-liter chassis fitted with an 8-liter engine. In this case, the original engine was replaced with a 6.5-liter engine that once produced a stock 140 horsepower. However, this engine was given a good workover that enlarged its displacement to a full 8.0 liters and its engine power rating to an awe-inspiring 437 horsepower.
Onlookers can easily distinguish the Hawkeye Special from other Bentley’s not just by its unique coachwork, but also by the six side pipes extending across the left side of the coachwork. The coachwork is covered in classic British Racing Green while the interior is finished in genuine leather matching the exterior color.
Once you see and hear this vehicle in person, it’s easy to stand in awe of such a magnificent machine that literally exudes power from its very form. W.O. Bentley would definitely be proud of this stunning creation.