Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

Go to the store and download the event app


Bentley – 4 1/2 Litre Blower (1922)


Vehicle Type:
Two Seater Drophead Coupé
Coach Builder:
Gurney Nutting
Inline 4
Engine CC:
The Lee Collection (US)

Class A


Bentley - 4 1/2 Litre Blower
Class A10

The 4½ litre supercharged Bentley – the ‘Blower’ as it was affectionately known – is the most famous of all Bentleys. By contrast with the standard 4½ litre model, it never ran in a victory at Le Mans. Bentley Boy, Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin, was the moving force behind the supercharged 4½ Litre. He hoped the ‘Blower’ would bring him the success he had long craved at Le Mans. Expectations were high – but reliability left a great deal to be desired in almost all races where the ‘Blower’ campaigned. And reliability was the secret underpinning Bentley’s successes. W.O. Bentley was against the supercharging project. He was always of the opinion that more power could only be reliably achieved by more displacement. And he was undoubtedly right! The ‘Blower’ failed to win a single race – the French Grand Prix in 1930 saw Birkin taking the chequered flag in second place at the wheel of his extremely powerful iconic racing Bentley behind a Bugatti with one third of the Bentley’s weight – an enormous achievement. But the ‘Blower’ helped Bentley to win at the Le Mans race in 1930 when Tim Birkin used his ‘Blower’ to push the supercharged Mercedes driven by Rudolf Caracciola to the point where the Mercedes developed engine trouble. Lap after lap, Caracciola and Birkin raced neck and neck in ever-decreasing lap times, until both their engines gave up the ghost prematurely since they were heavily loaded by their superchargers. The rest is history and the slower but reliable Speed Sixes notched up a final double victory for Bentley. The car shown at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este was built for the Chairman of Bentley Motors, Woolf Barnato. He was one of the Bentley Boys and three-times Le Mans winner including the last win at La Sarthe in 1930. ‘Babe’ Barnato commissioned Gurney-Nutting to build this very special Blower. He also designed the deliciously sporting body augmented by distinct upturned rear wings and boattail rear with low-slung flared ends.

Entrants 2023Historic Cars
Entrants 2023Concept Cars & Prototypes
Entrants 2023BMW Group
Special Exhibition
Privacy Preference