Bentley celebrates a century of winning at Brooklands
The world’s oldest surviving Bentley, the 1921 EXP2, led a cavalcade of classics to the famous Brooklands track to mark 100 years since the British brand took its first racing victory.
The EXP2 and 24 3-liter Bentleys from all over the U.K. formed up for a once-in-a-century photo opportunity on the Surrey circuit’s steep banking, exactly 100 years since Frank Clement won the Whitsun Junior Sprint Handicap at the same spot.
The 3-liter was Bentley’s first production car and would prove to be a highly-accomplished racer, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1924 and 1927, and notching up 21 world records in just 24 hours in 1925. It would pave the way for the 4 ½-liter Blower to win Le Mans a further five times between 1924 and 1930, then for Bentley to win again with the Speed 8 in 2003 and, more recently, to score numerous wins in GT3 racing.
Bentley sold more than 1600 3-liters between 1921 and 1929 and EXP2 is the only remaining prototype. The very first EXP1 is thought to have been taken apart and used to create its successor. Originally EXP2 was built with a plain two-seater body, but was later rebodied by coachbuilders JH Easter, fitted with an aluminum bonnet and painted dark red. EXP2 was born to race, taking to the Brooklands track for its first outing just nine days before its maiden win. EXP2 would serve as a rolling test bed and racer for two years after it was build before being sold in September 1923. Fully restored to its original design 25 years ago the car is now kept in Bentley’s own heritage collection.
It’s fantastic to see the car is still in action a full 100 years since its debut.