The need for a compressor seemed inelegant and anti-mechanic to W.O. Bentley, who preferred to increase the cylinder capacity of his engines to improve their performance. Tim Birkin, the famous driver and frequent client of the company, decided otherwise. And so the "Blower" was born; a car which went on to establish a number of speed records and become one of the most legendary of all Bentley automobiles.
Walter Owen Bentley (1888-1971) – W.O. to his friends - was passionate about automobiles from an early age. Along with his brother, he took over the French automobile dealership DFP (Doriot, Flandrin, Parant) in London in 1912. It was in working on one of the cars, fitting it with aluminum pistons before the First World War that he started to develop his own automobiles. W.O. was a fan of all things French, and his Bentleys were fitted with radiator grills that were exactly like those of the DFP.
He tested all of his automobiles himself on the continent in Cannes or Nice, traveling via the Alpine foothills. Quite remarkably, the Bentley's used metric measurements. When Bentley went out of business in 1931, W.O. worked at Rolls-Royce, who had bought out the firm, for three years. In 1935 he joined Lagonda, for whom he designed a six cylinder engine that ended up under the hood of David Brown's Aston Martin just after the end of the Second World War.
To be continued...