1929 Bentley 4 1/2 litre Supercharged Birkin Team Car Specification Four Seater
Registration no. UV 2576
Chassis no. DS 3569
Engine no. DS 3569 S
Birkin, Rubin, Chassagne, Benjafield, Ramponi, Harcourt-Wood and Kensington-Moir were just some of the legendary names associated with the fabulous supercharged Birkin Team Cars. Birkins wealth was derived from the Nottingham lace industry and it was his influence and determination that resulted in the supercharged Bentleys, despite W.O. Bentleys personal resistance to the fitting of the blower. Birkins enthusiasm and drive for achieving higher speeds was supported by the forceful Woolf Barnato and the Hon. Dorothy Pagets money. Although 50 supercharged cars were built there were just five proper Birkin Blowers. These thundering cars raced at such glamorous venues as Le Mans and Brooklands and in the French and Irish Grand Prix and the Ulster Tourist Trophy. The Birkin cars looked fabulous, sounded breathtaking at full song and their racing achievements were limited only by a design that was perhaps two or three years out of date. Nevertheless the legend of the Birkin Blowers and the people and events linked with that glamorous motor racing epoch live on.
Lt. V.I.H. Myluis R.N. was an ardent Bentley aficionado who took delivery of DS 3569, a standard production chassis, in August 1929, a time of industrial unrest in England, although the Bentley crowd in London seemed singularly unaffected by related hardships. Myluis lived off Portland Place in London and almost certainly mixed with such Bentley notables as W.O. himself, Barnato, Birkin and others. For his new car he specified coachwork by Cadogan, a London-based coachbuilder headed by S.R. Moss-Vernon, and Bentley records confirm that the coachwork chosen was a fabric-covered sports four-seater. Myluis retained this car until 1930, trading it in notably for Captain Barnatos Mulliner-bodied four-seater 6 1/2-litre car Chassis No.KD2105.
DS 3569 passed to Lt. Col. C.E.Sanders of Gainsborough in 1930, later passing to J.E. Benham of London in 1934. At that stage the car had seen significant use with a recorded mileage of 71,973 miles. Benham apparently retained the car until at least 1937 and BDC records suggest that it was unknown to the Club from the mid-1960s until at least the 1980s.
The present owner bought this car in the late 1980s, the car having been in the previous ownership for some 24 or so years. At that stage DS 3569 was driveable but in weary condition and a decision was taken to carry out a complete restoration, creating the car as closely as possible to the specification of Birkins dazzling supercharged 4 1/2 litre Team Cars. This was to be a meticulously researched and expertly executed task which took some ten years to complete, the cars present fastidious owner overseeing every aspect and drawing expertise from only the most experienced W.O. Bentley specialists.
The engine was assembled incorporating a new cylinder block, upper and lower crankcases, a Phoenix crankshaft and Carillo pattern rods were fitted, with Cosworth forged pistons and a specially lightened flywheel. The engine was stamped with its original engine number followed by an S to clearly indicate this major modification. A Bentley Engineering reproduction, Villiers-designed supercharger was fitted, with magnesium end-casings matching the competition cars. James Pearce was commissioned to build the coachwork, fashioned to Vanden Plas design, including the recreation of correct style windscreen, hood and upholstery, together with alternative fly-mesh screen for more competitive occasions. The chassis and all mechanical components were totally stripped, the chassis shortened to 9 9 1/2 specification, all extra drilled chassis holes acquired over the years carefully filled and the chassis zinc sprayed and repainted. Stronger side-struts were fitted, as for the Birkin cars, and the front dumb irons and cross member replaced to accommodate the supercharger. The original dumb irons bearing the original chassis number, together with the front cross-member have been retained and come with the car.
DS 3569 is fabulously equipped with Carl Zeiss headlamps, matching trumpet horns, Le Mans fuel tank, fishtail exhaust, divers helmet rear lamps and matching Stadium-style rear view mirrors. It is correctly mounted on 21 wheels with cycle wings and cord-bound leaf springs. The overdrive fitted and the original C-type gearbox combine to provide excellent driving ratios and unstressed high speed motoring with overdrive engaged. Comfortable 100mph+ performance is available on tap and our drive in this car can only be described as impressive and memorable.
Since completion of the restoration in 2001, some 7,500 or so miles have been covered, including two trips to Le Mans, participating three times in the Irish Gordon Bennett Rally and driving to Angoulême where DS 3569 justifiably carried off the Premier Award in the Concours dÉtat.
Unquestionably the epitome of the most illustrious British racing and touring car of the 1920s, DS 3569 comes from an exclusive, superbly maintained private collection and is offered with a Swansea V5 registration document, current licence and MoT certificate, copy of factory records and a history file containing restoration invoices.
Eminently suitable for high speed, long distance motoring or for the international Concours dÉlégance lawns, DS 3569 surely represents the rarest of opportunities to acquire a supercharged Bentley, meticulously constructed in the idiom of the highly-prized Birkin Blowers.
- The original dumb irons and front cross-members are at the vendors home in France and will be forwarded to the new owner. Photographs of these items are available at the documents desk.