A museum quality hand-built engineer's 1:4 scale model of a 1917 Bentley BR2 Rotary Engine,
Lot 117
A museum quality hand-built engineer's 1:4 scale model of a 1917 Bentley BR2 Rotary Engine,
£ 5,500 - 6,500
US$ 7,000 - 8,300

Lot Details
A museum quality hand-built engineer's 1:4 scale model of a 1917 Bentley BR2 Rotary Engine,
this precision engineered model has been manufactured and constructed in its entirety by a retired aircraft engineer over a period of nearly three years. Apart from the nuts and bolts every metal piece has been scratch-built, using the drawings in the book L.K. Blackmore: Bentley BR2 building the one quarter scale working replica, mounted on a display stand, on a wooden base with a Perspex cover. This model was built as an exhibition piece and has not been run and would require modification to be a working model.

Footnotes

  • The 1917 Bentley BR2 Rotary engine was one of the most powerful of the rotary engines to be used in air service. It produced a maximum of 250 H.P. on an unequalled power/weight ratio of only 1.9 LBS/H.P.

    In the 1914-18 conflict W.O. Bentley was commissioned by the R.N. as a consultant and initially posted to Gwynnes who were licensed to manufacture the French Clerget Rotary engines. The 130 H.P.9B and the 135 H.P.9BF, these engines were extensively used on the western front. (See Gwynnes' Clerget Instruction Book provided with the lot). The Sopwith Camel Clerget engines suffered serious uneven overheating problems and unreliability and the number of casualties, both aircraft and pilots, were a grave cause for concern. The Clerget design used special "obturator" copper/silver top piston rings, the service life being only 15 hours and to ensure continuity it was usual to provide four engines for every aircraft to cover the maintenance downtime.

    Bentley's attempts, in his consultant's capacity, to have certain modifications incorporated in the Clergets to improve reliability were frustrated and the Admiralty moved him to Humbers where he was given a free hand to produce a design that his expertise dictated. This resulted in the AR1 (later defined as the BR1), and then in 1917 the BR2. The BR1 was installed in the Camel and the BR2's placement in the Sopwith Snipe combined to produce the best single seat fighter of the 1914/18 war.
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