Like Rolls Royce, Bentley is another name long associated with British engineering excellence, and that goes back to its very beginnings in the motor car game.

The Bentley 4.5 litre was designed as a sportscar, to join models from Bugatti and Lorraine-Dietrich in competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance competition.

This caught the attention of the soon-to-be legendary Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin, who was the greatest living British racing driver at the time.

He saw the potential of the 4.5-litre as a racing car, and worked with a former Bentley mechanic to produce a supercharged version of the car to help make it even more competitive. The result was the Bentley Blower.

Not everyone was happy with the modifications to the car, in particular W.O. Bentley himself, who saw supercharging the engine as ‘corruption’.

But having lost control of the company, he was powerless to prevent Birkin from producing a genuine all-time British classic.

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