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Two Le Mans-winning cars, Bentley Speed Six ‘Old Number One’ and a Mercedes-Benz 300SL W194, have been announced for this year’s Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace, on 1-3 September.
They will form part of a special display celebrating the 100th anniversary of the legendary 24-hour race.
The showcase, organised in partnership with L’Automobile Club Ouest, will feature some of the rarest cars from Le Mans’ spectacular history.
Bentley enjoyed much success in the early days of Le Mans, perhaps most famously with Speed Six ‘Old Number One’, which will be at Concours of Elegance.
It became the first car to win the 24-hour enduro back-to-back with victories in 1929 and 1930 at the hands of Woolf Barnato, Tim Birkin and Glen Kidston.
Based on the roadgoing Speed Six, ‘Old Number One’ features a tweaked engine capable of 190bhp; it hit 115mph along the Mulsanne straight.
Bentley’s impressive run of five victories at Le Mans between 1924-’30 ended after this Speed Six’s second win – the marque’s next triumph arrived 73 years later with the Speed 8.
A 1952 Le Mans-winning Mercedes-Benz 300SL W194 will also form part of this centenary celebration at Concours of Elegance in September.
With Hermann Lang and Fritz Reiss behind the wheel, the W194 became the first car from a German marque to win the renowned round-the-clock race.
Mercedes snatched a one-two finish with its straight-six-powered 300SLs during a challenging race where 40 out of 57 competitors retired before the chequered flag.
The aerodynamic body and tubular steel spaceframe of the 300SL W194 – which inspired the 300SL Gullwing road car – will look positively space age alongside the pre-war Bentley.
“The Bentley Speed Six ‘Old Number One’ and the Mercedes-Benz 300SL W194 are both legends of this great race and motorsport more generally, and it’s a real honour to have them feature at our event,” said James Brooks-Ward, Concours of Elegance CEO.
“We at the Concours of Elegance pride ourselves on assembling the world’s rarest, most significant cars; this duo certainly fits the bill.”
More cars will be announced for the Le Mans centenary showcase soon. They will join almost 1000 other vehicles on display across the weekend when Concours of Elegance returns to Hampton Court Palace on 1-3 September 2023.
Check out our highlights from last year’s event here.
Images: Concours of Elegance
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