Bonhams will offer at its annual Quail Lodge auction in Carmel, one of the greatest vintage supercharged Bentleys in existence. Passionate racer and “Bentley Boy” Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin, conceived this car and create best racing Bentley by supercharging the existing 4½ liter model. To enable homologation of Birkin’s cars, 50 production examples were built by Bentley Motors. The resulting 1931 Bentley 4½ Liter Supercharged Le Mans, “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. In 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. 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. The 1931 Bentley 4½ Liter Supercharged Le Mans also participated in many races won a prestigious 1967 Vanderbilt Cup.