By Henry Sands
This story originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.
When Sir John Birkin was researching his film, Full Throttle, he returned to the site of his demolished grand family home, Ruddington Grange near Nottingham in England, to familiarize himself with the surroundings.
On a stable wall that had survived the destruction, he found the words “every day, in every way, faster and faster.” They were written by his great-great uncle, Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin, a dashing pioneer of British motor racing and one of the infamous Bentley Boys of the 1920s.
There is no doubt Birkin was obsessed with speed, and was determined to find away to increase the pace of his 4.5-liter engine rather than opt for the heavier 6.5-liter engine that WO Bentley, the company founder, saw as the answer. Bentley refused to make his preferred supercharged option of car, so Birkin decided to do it himself. With the help of his friend and engineer, Amherst Villiers, they created the new car themselves against the wishes of WO Bentley, and Birkin’s Bentley Blower was born.
Realizing the wide appeal of the stripped-down supercharged model, the car was brought into production by Bentley and 50 original Blower models were built. Many of these are still around and likely to set you back about $2.5m, but to connoisseurs of classic cars nothing else really comes close.