Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin’s 4½ Litre Supercharged Bentley Blower has fetched a record sales price of £4.5 million ($6.9 million) at auction.
The legendary single seat racing car, which sold at the Goodwood festival of Speed on Friday, smashed Bentley’s previous record price of £2.8 million, set in 2004 at the Le Mans Classic by a Speed Six, known simply as ‘Old No 2’.
The Blower Bentley is essentially a Bentley 4½ Litre with a Roots-type supercharger placed at the end of the crankshaft, ahead of the radiator.
The racing version produced 180kW at 2400rpm, which was more power than its Bentley 6.5 Litre successor was able to generate.
In 1930, UK-based newspaper the Daily Herald offered a trophy for the fastest driver around the Brooklands Outer Circuit. In 1932, Tim Birkin drove his famous red Blower Bentley at a speed of 219.93km/h to take the record and the trophy.
Known as a risk-taker, like many other racing drivers of that era, Birkin would describe the experience of manhandling the 1727kg Bentley around the circuit as hair-raising.
“There are bumps which jolt the driver up and down in his seat and make the car leave the road and travel through the air,” said Birkin.
Take a look at the video below showing a supercharged Bentley Blower racing at the Le Mans Classic in 2009.