1929 4½ Litre “Blower” Bentley
|Written by Paul Hardiman|
|Monday, 01 October 2012 00:00|
Among all Brooklands habitués of the 1920–30s, perhaps the most glamorous and charismatic of all the historic motor course’s racing celebrities was the diminutive Bentley-driving Baronet, Sir Henry Ralph Stanley “Tim” Birkin. He combined his “Bentley Boy” high-society image with a fearless driving talent.
With fellow enthusiast/racer Mike Couper, Birkin & Couper Ltd was established at Welwyn, where it produced the prototype 4½ Litre “Blower” Bentley in the summer of 1929. W.O. Bentley recalled: “They would lack in their preparation all the experience we had built up in (our own) racing department over 10 years. I feared the worst and looked forward to their first appearance with anxiety....”
Birkin ran his prototype tourer-bodied car in the Brooklands 6-Hour race on June 29, 1929. The car retired. In the RAC Tourist Trophy at Ards in Ulster, Bernard Rubin’s “Blower” overturned while Birkin, who had challenged W.O. to act as his riding mechanic (the marque’s founder accepting), placed a worthy second overall and won his class.