A vintage Bentley has become the most expensive British car ever sold at auction- going under the hammer for a staggering £5 million.
The legendary 1929 Bentley 4.5 litre set a lap record at the iconic Brooklands Outer Circuit in 1931 when it hit an impressive 137mph. As the hammer eventually went down at the Goodwood Festival of Speed the vehicle pulled in £5,042,000- smashing the £3.5 million paid in 2007 for a 1904 Rolls-Royce. Auction house Bonhams would not confirm the identity of the buyer, who was bidding for the Bentley over the phone.
The bright red Bentley, which was raced by the Sir Henry ' Tiger Tim' Birkin, is part of the George Daniels collection being auctioned off at Goodwood in Sussex. Birkin was one of the most famous of the Bentley Boys- a group of wealthy men who raced the British sports cars in the 1920s and 1930s.
His life was tragically cut short in 1933 in a freak accident after he burned himself on an exhaust pipe during a race. The burn became infected and he died from septicaemia at the age of 36.
His iconic Bentley was later bought by the groundbreaking horologist George Daniels, who owned it until his death last year. The car, known as a Bentley Blower, was fitted with a 4.5-litre supercharged engine which developed 240bhp.
Just 54 were built, with the sports cars capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in just 8 seconds. Birkin reached an amazing 137mph in this particular model.
“The prices achieved for George Daniels’s cars today are a fitting tribute to one of the truly great artist engineers of the 20th Century,” said Malcolm Barber, Bonhams chief executive officer.
"George was not only a fantastic craftsman who hand-made some of the world’s most desirable watches, he was also a car connoisseur held in immense respect throughout the vintage motoring world."
Doug Nye, a car historian, added: "It is wonderful to see this iconic car’s true value recognised by the world market.
"The Birkin single-seater Bentley was, in effect, the Concorde of its time, the fastest car around the high Brooklands bankings. It was driven by a great British hero in Sir Henry Birkin and was the most glamorous racing car of the era.”