Charles Noble's Blower Bentley sees $4.6m at Bonhams auction

"One of the greatest supercharged Bentleys in existence", the 1931 Blower Bentley owned by Charles Noble, has set a new world record for the model at Bonhams' Quail Lodge auction, which was held on August 16 as part of the illustrious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Bentley Blower 4 1/2 litre
The Blower Bentley can be distinguished from the 4 1/2 Litre by the supercharger placed in front of its radiator

The car, one of three original Le Mans specification production models ever built, sold for $4.6m. It is now the most valuable production model of the famed racer to have ever sold at auction.

In 2012, another Blower Bentley, this time owned by racer and "Bentley Boy" Sir Henry "Tim" Birkin, the man who originally conceived the design, sold for £5m ($7.5m) to become the most valuable British-built car ever sold.

The Blower Bentley was adapted from the classic 4½ Litre with the addition of a Roots-type supercharger, which was added to the end of the crankshaft, as WO Bentley refused to allow the engine to be modified.

This addition increased the car's understeer, but nonetheless led Birkin to set the Brooklands outer circuit lap record at 137mph. It was one of the fastest cars of its era, an achievement realised by sheer brute force.

The example at auction has been owned by the family of Charles Noble - a highly respected Bentley enthusiast - for more than 55 years. It remains in fully original condition, and is still eligible for the Mille Miglia and other top events.

Noble acquired three ex-Bentley Boy-owned cars and an unprecedented four Blower Bentleys during his lifetime - an achievement that has yet to be matched by any other collector.

With the 250 series being the most sought after, and this being a unique example, the buyer can stand among the top Ferrari owners on the market

A unique 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe with coachwork by Vignale, which was produced for the 1954 New York Auto Show, brought the second highest bids of the auction, selling for $2.8m.

Formerly owned by US importer Luigi Chinetti, the car boasts an impressive provenance, which is backed up by a recent restoration to its original configuration. It is eligible for the world's most exclusive concours events, as well as driving tours such as the California Mille and the Colorado Grand.

The world record for any Ferrari sold at auction was set at RM Auctions' Monterey auction by a $27.5m Ferrari 275 NART Spyder on August 17.

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