Skip to main content

1927 Bentley 4.5 Liter news, pictures, specifications, and information
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: YU7692
With the 'Bentley Boys' success at LeMans, owners of Bentley touring cars for decades have had theirs re-bodied to emulate the LeMans winner. This car, #YU7692, received this upgrading including a proper 4.5-liter engine with Phoenix crank and rods, 4.5 gearbox and transmission, larger racing fuel tank, long racing bonnet, cycle wings and larger racing gauges.

As noted Shelsley Special racer J.G. Fry said back in 1943, 'Recipe: take a good three-liter Red Label Bentley chassis, mix in a good 4.5-liter engine, gearbox and transmission, and add a light two-seater body with accessories to taste. The result is a motor car which, while still retaining good vintage flavor, possesses performance equaled by few other machines even of the most modern and expensive type.'

This #YU7692 is a fully sorted example that was owned by the same Bentley Drivers Club owner since the 1960s and VSCC raced throughout Europe and is ready for vintage racing or any historic tours or events.
The Bentley 4 1/2 liter came into existence to fill a void left by the 3-liter and the 6.5-liter variants. The 3-liter suffered from underperformance while the 6.5-liter was unsafe for the roads. The 6.5-liter was powerful, and with poor road-conditions often caused tires to fail quickly. The solution was the Bentley 4.5-liter; a vehicle that had enough power to carry the vehicle down the road at a good pace. The chassis consists of channel-steel, front and rear suspension by semi-elliptic leaf springs, and 4-wheel drum brakes.
Production amounted to a total of 733 cars of all body styles. Fifty-four cars were equipped with the famous supercharged engine, 'Blower Bentleys,' built by the race driver Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin as a private venture - against W.O. Bentley's wishes.

The 4.5-Liter Supercharged Bentley, better known as the 'Blower' Bentleys, is a sporting automotive icon that earned its place in history as an engineering marvel and powerhouse. Only 50 examples, plus an additional five racing prototypes, were created. In the modern era, they are among the top rank in collector cars throughout the world.

Engineer and founder W.O. Bentley was hesitant to adapt a supercharger to his 4.5-liter engines. Rather, the development was financed by a woman, the Honorable Dorthy Paget, who provided the funds necessary to complete the project. It was for Henry R.S. 'Tim' Birkin, one of the 'Bentley Boys' who campaigned the Bentleys at many venues and various competition events bringing recognition and victories to the Bentley marque. The list includes Brooklands with its closed oval course, and the other extreme, LeMans, with his challenging road course.

Birkin had intended to race the supercharged 4.5-liter Bentley at LeMans in 1929, but lubrication problems on the early cars halted those plans. Instead, Woolf Barnato (Bentley's chairman and fellow factory team racer), Birkin, and Glen Kidston drove the Bentley Speed Six Models in 1929 to victories at LeMans.

Birkin was able to convince Barnato to enter the 'blower' Bentley in the 1930 LeMans race. In order to do so, homologation requirements had to be satisfied. The rules stated a minimum of 50 examples had to be built. Bentley officially introduced their production versions of the cars at the 1929 Olympia Motor Show, with the fist cars on sale in April of 1930.

With homologation requirements satisfied, Bentley entered two blowers and three Speed Six models. Birkin's LeMans blower was co-drive by Jean Chassagne. The Blower Bentley showed great promise early in the race, and by the fourth lap had passed a highly-competitive supercharged Mercedes at 126 mph. In the process it shredded a tire and was forced to stop. At the time, they had been averaging 89.66 mph per lap, which was a new lap record for the course.

The other Bentley's were given the job of chasing down the Mercedes. Their job became much easier when the Mercedes was forced to retire when their battery died. The Blower Bentley's would endure similar fate, as they were forced to retire in the 20th hour. The Speed Six models went on to secure a 1-2 Bentley victory.

1930 was the last year the Bentley factory team would compete at LeMans, as the company had fallen on very difficult economical times. Dorothy Paget eventually withdrew her support for the Birkin blowers as the cost to compete continued to escalate. This brought an end to the short-lived saga of the Bentley blower era.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
For more information and related vehicles, click here

Sir Henry Ralph Stanley Birkin: No Christmas Tiger
 Remembered as one of the most influential of the famous 'Bentley Boys', Henry 'Tim' Birkin was anything but a mere member of Britain's upper crust. Head-strong, courageous and unyielding, Birkin would often be challenged to mix it up with the 'aces' of the day. When it was all said and done, he would more than prove he was no honorary stooge. Sir Henry Ralph Stanley Birkin would be born in Nottingham in 1896. He was not some common boy born to some unknown parents. Birkin's family was quite w...[Read more...]
1930 French GP: Like Bringing a Howitzer to a Knife Fight
 How preposterous the sight! Among the 25 cars lined up for the 1930 French Grand Prix there would be one large supercharged Bentley. It would be akin to a sportscar prototype lining up alongside a Formula One car on the streets of Monaco. But this wasn't Monaco. And, if everything aligned just right the results would be too remarkable to tell. Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin was one of the famed 'Bentley Boys' that had come to dominate Le Mans throughout the late 1920s. Son to a wealthy family that ma...[Read more...]
 • Bentley looks to finish the season in style at the Nürburgring • Team and drivers in contention to be Endurance Series champions • 'Very high confidence in the cars and the team' (Crewe, 17th September 2014) Final preparations are being made as the Bentley Continental GT3 is readied for the last race in the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series, at the famous Nürburgring in Germany. Bentley, in conjunction with technical partners M-Sport, is looking to finish the season on a high, after ...[Read more...]
• Both Continental GT3 cars finish the Total 24 Hours of Spa in top 20 • Reliability and pace both confirmed on 24-hour debut • Both cars suffer bad luck in the opening hours • 24-hour race disrupted by safety cars and red flag • Both Bentleys battle back to commendable finishes in P13 and P17, equating to P9 and P11 in the PRO class (Spa, 27th July 2014) Bentley's Continental GT3 racer proves itself as the next generation of Bentley endurance machine with a strong finish for both ...[Read more...]
Four Magnificent Motorsport Legends Return to the Public Eye at Gooding & Company's Pebble Beach Auctions
Gooding & Company, the acclaimed auction house celebrated for selling the world's most significant and valuable collector cars, is proud to announce that it will present four magnificent motorsport legends – a 1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Le Mans Sports 'Bobtail' team car, the 1964 Ford GT40 Prototype 104, a 1955 Ferrari 857 Sport and a 1960 Porsche RS60 Spyder – at its Pebble Beach Auctions on August 18 and 19, in association with the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Originating in fou...[Read more...]

3 Litre
3½ Litre
4½ Litre LeMans RC Series
6½ Litre
8 Litre
Mark V
Mark VI
R Type and Continental
S1 and Continental
S2 and Continental
S3 and Continental
Speed 8
Speed Six
Turbo R / Turbo RT

Image Left 1926 4.5 Liter1928 4.5 Litre Image Right
© 1998-2015. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.