1929 Bentley 4.5-Litre 'Blower' Birkin Monoposto

1929 Bentley 4.5-Litre 'Blower' Birkin Monoposto

At the end of the season, the Hon. Dorothy Paget withdrew her support for Birkin's team. She did hold on to the original prototype, which by then did not look anything like a standard Bentley. In 1929 the original four-seater 'Le Mans Tourer' body got severely damaged. Instead of rebuilding it, Birkin decided to have a special body fitted to race the car at the legendary Brooklands track. He called in the help of expert Reid Railton, who designed a purposeful off-set single seater body, which was mounted on the standard Bentley chassis. The engine was removed and carefully modified to be able to sustain the added stress of the Supercharger. Courtesy of purpose built pistons and a fully balanced crankshaft, power was up to 240 bhp.

Painted a striking blue and with the front brakes removed, the 'Birkin Monoposto' lined up for the opening race of the 1930 Brooklands season. That first weekend the 'Blower Bentley' recorded its first ever victory in a short race against a colourful mix of local and French racing cars. The next target for Birkin was the outer-lap record, which was held by Kaye Don in a supercharged V12 engined Sunbeam. At the Easter weekend Birkin broke the record by lapping at 135.33 mph. Don duly reclaimed the record later in the season. Birkin continued to race the Monoposto at Brooklands with some success before he had it further modified for the 1932 season. The engine was slightly enlarged and larger carburettors were fitted. It was sufficient to set a new record at 137.58 mph.

The Birkin Monoposto was retired from racing not much later and sadly Birkin himself followed suit. In 1933 he burned his arm on the hot exhaust of a Maserati Grand Prix car. He contracted blood-poisoning and died in hospital a few days later. The Hon. Dorothy Paget held on to the now red Monoposto for several years before selling it in 1939. After the War, the unique body was removed and replaced with a more conventional two-seater coachwork and extensively raced. Fortunately the Monoposto was preserved and eventually refitted on the car. One of the big problems was the surprisingly tight cockpit and some minor modifications were made in order for the owner to fit.

Descriptions & pictures by ultimatecarpage & wikipedia

Production Start 1929
Country of origin Great Britain