It shared a bore 100mm and stroke 140mm with the recently introduced 6% Litre’s inline-six, and was therefore able to use that car’s conrods and pistons. If the 3 Litre had been showing its age against roadgoing rivals from the likes of Sunbeam, the new model levelled the playing field. A handful were built on the earlier car’s shorter chassis but the vast majority used the 10ft 10in wheelbase, and the 4% was again offered with a wide range of body styles. Our featured example which has been in the same ownership since the early keystone garage door opener 0220 1ka sports handsome Freestone & Webb two-seater, drophead-coupe coachwork.
The right-hand gearchange dictates that the inexperienced are better off entering from the passenger side if they’re to avoid getting the lever up their trouser leg. Pull out the magneto switches, prod the starter and the big ‘four’ rumbles into life with a purposeful bass note that goes right through you when you blip the central throttle. Heavy at low speed, the steering never keystone garage door opener 0220 1ka lightens up, but it’s spectacularly direct. Bentley gearboxes carry with them a fearsome reputation, but this 4% is equipped with the close-ratio D-type unit, which is an absolute delight and a lot easier to use than ‘our’ 3 Litre’s slower B-type. The only slightly awkward aspect is that the gap between the clutch and brake pedals on the later car is only just big enough for your foot to reach the diminutive throttle pedal.
As is to be expected, the 4% is the quicker of the two off the mark it feels broadly comparable to Vauxhall’s impressive 30-98 but once both are up to speed the difference is less noticeable. The 3 Litre shares the 4%’s quick steering, and can be thrown into keystone garage door opener 0220 1ka with abandon, enabling you to carry more speed towards the apex than you’d expect. As its owner, Philip Strickland, later demonstrates with impressive expertise, it can then easily be coaxed into a gentle slide as you power through. “It’s an amazing bit of kit to race,” he enthuses. “I drove a 4% Litre at Goodwood and reckon that this is quicker through corners.