Bonhams will auction one of the greatest vintage supercharged Bentleys in existence at its annual Quail Lodge auction in Carmel.
Conceived by passionate racer and “Bentley Boy” Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin, his desire to create a more successful racing Bentley by supercharging the existing 4½ liter model flew in the face of company owner W.O. Bentley, but was endorsed by its larger-than-life backer Woolf Barnato. To enable homologation of Birkin’s cars, 50 production examples were built by Bentley Motors. The resulting “Blower” Bentley, as it’s referred to, has become the most fabled and emulated automobile of its time.
This car has been owned by arch Bentley enthusiast and British ex-patriot Charles R.J. Noble and, subsequently, his family for more than 55 years. Noble’s keen passion for Bentleys – stemming from his childhood in London as he watched the Bentleys return from Le Mans – would lead to the acquisition of a trio of ex-Bentley Boy-owned cars and no fewer than four of these coveted superchargers – an achievement unmatched by any other collector to date.
Within five years from new, the 1931 motorcar emigrated to North America and has remained on this continent ever since. In 1938 it received its only restoration and was updated with a Brooklands-style two-seater racing body with external exhaust. After is was acquired by Noble, it became the car he campaigned the most and he would regularly drive it from New York City to Long Island’s Bridgehampton Race Circuit, race, win, and return home in it with honors that included the prestigious 1967 Vanderbilt Cup.
Today, the car is described by the foremost expert on vintage Bentley production, Dr. Clare Hay, as a “rarity among rarities” since this is one of only three of those 50 cars that were supplied as Le Mans specification chassis.
Always coveted and frequently copied, the Blower Bentley holds its place in history as a true automotive icon, and this incredibly rare and highly original survivor is one of the best in existence.
Bonhams, the world record holder for any Bentley sold at auction*, will offer this incomparable sports racer on Friday, August 16th at its highly anticipated Quail Lodge Auction in Carmel, California. Interested buyers may learn more about this auction, purchase a catalog, and register to bid by visiting bonhams.com/quail.