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1931 Bentley 4.5 Litre Supercharged    
Original 1931 Numbers
Chassis No. MS3936
Engine No. MS3939
Registration No. GP 1630

  This car - updated
Chassis No. MS3936
Engine No. -
Registration No. GP 1630

(Updated with information from owner. - August 2014)
September 2017
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At Hampton Court’s Concours d’Elegance
Motor Show in London, September 2017

The old boy (me) behind the wheel

The old boy again. Happy as Larry!!

"On Sunday (Sep 3, 2017) I reacquainted myself with my Dad's old 4.5 Litre Supercharged Bentley at Hampton Court’s Concours d’Elegance Motor Show in London. Quite an emotional experience as I hadn’t seen it since I was about 14 years old. Different coachwork then, but basically the same old beast.

A brief history of 1931 4.5 litre supercharged Bentley Reg No GP 1630
The Chassis number was MS3936, Engine No 3936, Supercharger No 148.

There were only 55 Supercharged Bentleys made, 5 where raced at Le Mans and 50 were built to comply with Le Mans regulations that stated there had to be a production car and for sale to the general public.

GP 1630 was built with  Lancefield  four seater drop head coupe body, detail numbers above.

GP1630's first owner was  Lieutenant Colonel IVOR WATKINS BIRTS of The Royal Artillery. He was born in England in 1910 and died in 1944. He bought the car as a 21 year old man, the son of a solicitor who lived at 250 Iffley Rd Oxford. While he owned GP1630 he raced the car in a private wager with a well know bridge player called Sir Guy Domvill driving a supercharged Essex Terraplane Six at Brooklands Racing Circuit. The Bentley won.

Owner No 2 was V.L. Seyed. He purchased the car in 1945. Details regarding V.L. Seyed are not known. Further research is ongoing.

Owner No 3  was T.D. Sutcliffe who purchased the car in 1947. Again details are unknown and further research required.

Owner No 4 was Dr J.O. Connor. GP 1630 was purchased by him in 1949. Further research is required.

J.O Connor sold the car in the same year  to Reginald Taylor (owner no. 5) of 51 Great Hamton Street Birmingham, Tel No Northern 4549.  I am unsure if he was a dealer or private seller.

My late father Henry Phillip Rippon (owner no. 6) saw the car advertised and purchased  GP 1630 in 1950 after selling his 3 litre Vanden Plas  short chassis, touring body Bentley, Chassis No 940, Speed Model Reg No PP 3275, to his son-in-law Thomas Glover an ex R.A.F. Pilot. PP 3275  now resides in Australia and is owned by Phillip Schudmak.

My father sold GP 1630 to the 7th owner P.J. Chatterly in 1953, P.J. Chatterly sold GP 1630 in 1966. It was left in a field for many years and the original Lancefield  body rotted. Why, is any body's guess as it was still a valuable car.

GP 1630 was purchased in 1966 by owner No 8, Wing Commander R.G. Seys  R.A.F Ret. from P.J. Chatterley. The rebuild was started in 1966 but was not finished until 1969. I am not sure if it was still under the ownership of Wing Commander Seys or if it had by that time been sold to owner No 9, J.D. Zeal (?)  but it was rebuilt by Elmdown Vintage Autombiles of Hungerford. The chassis was, in the 1960s, fitted with (according to Will Morrison of the Bentley Drivers Club) a  shortened chassis and fitted with a supercharger No 148 from chassis No MS3948 and rebuilt as Le Mans type body. The car according to Michael Hay in his (now out of print) book Bentley, The Vintage Years was confusing as history of early cars are. GP 1630 was built along side another Bentley Reg No GY 3905  at Elmdown Vintage Autombiles that was built for Wing Commander R.G Seys and subsequently purchased by Edward, Lord Montague for his Motor Museum, and can still be seen today, and is at present undergoing an engine rebuild.

GP 1630 was sold by J.D.B. Zeal via Gregor Fisken, a very well known classic motor dealer.

I am not certain but I think  it was purchased by the father of *the current owner* (owner no. 10) from Gregor Fiskin. I met *the current owner* who is a very pleasant fellow who I am in contact with. GP 1630 now resides in Belgium.

*The current owner* emailed me and told me that he was bringing GP 1630 to the U.K to show it at Blenheim Palace and at the Classic Car show at Hampton Court Palace.  I went to Hampton Court with my wife and son where we met him. He allowed  me to sit in the car and was gracious enough to  start the engine for us -- what a wonderful sound. (I was 14 years old the last time I saw it. It was a different  body now but basically the same old  beast that I remember.) We chatted for some time. We have agreed to keep in touch, so any further information will be added later."

*The current owner has requested anonymity. --

  Source: Bob Rippon (Son of former owner)
Posted: Oct 06, 2017
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  Source: Bob Rippon
Posted: Sep 23, 2014
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Coppa Classic, 2012

  Source: Flickr, posted by user 'Stan Tendijick'
Posted: Jun 13, 2013
  Comment by Bob Rippon (son of former owner of this car): "Is Stan Tendifick the owner?. Where was the photo taken.? Have you any further infomation that may help me in my quest to trace the car. Hope you may be able to help." - Jun 28, 2013  
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The Model is an Airfix 1/25 scale model with the Registration Number plate of the "Blower".

  Source: R.H. Rippon (son of former owner)
Posted: Feb 27, 2008
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According to Stanley Sedgwick's book Where Have All the Blowers Gone the blower "was rebodied in 1969 by Elmdown Vintage Automobiles as a long chassis Le Mans replica." - Information contributed by R.H. Rippon, Feb 28, 2008

  Source: Million Dollar Autos: The World's Most Expensive Automobiles, Gordon Cruickshank, 1992
Posted: May 24, 2007
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"These photos where given to me by Christopher Watkins-Bell. He is the man on the left in the photo and was involved as a young man in rebuilding the Blower to the Le Mans style body we see today.

Christopher is still involved with vintage Bentleys and when I visited his workshop he had nine vintage Bentleys they were working on. The company was Elmdown Vintage Automobiles. It is now called Elmdown Enginering and is still run by Christopher Watkins-Bell.

Please name Christopher as the source of the photos."

  Source: Christopher Watkins-Bell (Made available by Bob Rippon, son of former owner)
Updated: May 12, 2015
Posted: May 04, 2015
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The car its converted state. These photographs (featured in an advertisement) were taken outside the dealership of Gregor Fiskins.

  Source: R.H. Rippon (Son of former owner)
Posted: Feb 27, 2008
July 1984
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Photograph was taken at Bentley Drivers Club Concours at Kensington Gardens in July 1984.

  Source: Robert McLellan
Posted: July 29, 2006
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  Source: "Thoroughbred & Classic Cars" magazine, April 1982
Posted: Aug 19, 2008
April 1953
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"A member of the Bentley Drivers Club told me there was an advert for my late father's Bentley GP1630 in an old "Motor Sport" magazine. The magazine was dated April 1953, around the time my father sold the Bentley. I bought the magazine through eBay for £5.40. The original price was one shilling and six pence.

Although the advert does not show the number plate, and is missing the spare wheels it looks identical, so I am 90% sure it is my late father's car. The dates fit as he sold it in 1953. Anyway I thought you may be interested so I photocopied it for you."

  Source: Bob Rippon (Son of former owner)
Posted: Dec 04, 2017
1949 - 1953
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Photograph showing both Reg. No. GP 1630 and PP 3275 was taken on Southport Sands.

Photograph was taken at a Bentley Drivers Club meeting at Kensington Palace Gardens in London

Photograph was taken outside my fathers house in Rainhill in Lancashire, England, with the Lansfield body

My father, Henry Philip Rippon, owned this car from 1950 to 1953. He purchased the Bentley from Reg Taylors in Birmingham and paid £495.00 for it.

  Source: R.H. Rippon (Son of former owner)
Posted: Feb 27, 2008
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Mum and Dad at Southport

At Kensington Gardens, London

Engine detail


  Source: R.H. Rippon (Son of former owner)
Posted: Feb 29, 2008
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"Chassis MS3936 is partially visible on extreme right. This photograph was taken at a Bentley Drivers Club meeting at The Police Headquarters Driving School at Hendon London in 1951."

  Source: Bob Rippon
Posted: Jul 31, 2013

Sold by Reg Taylors of Birmingham to Henry Philip Rippon for £495.00 in 1950.

  Source: R.H. Rippon (Son of former owner)
Posted: Feb 27, 2008


  More info regarding my late father's Blower (Ch No. MS3936, Reg No. GP 1630) brief Brooklands saga.  
Racing at Brooklands in 1933

The last event of 1933 was a private wager between Sir Guy Domville the well-known bridge player and his friend Ivor Birts, driving Essex Terraplane Six and Bentley 4½-litre supercharged coupe respectively. The course was a half-mile sprint; at the first attempt the Bentley had clutch trouble, but on the second it just overhauled its rival, despite the Essex's initial advantage as seen in the photo. Another bet was on the question of whether Birts could run 220 yards in less time than Domville could cover half a mile.



"The Baronet's Challenge", Brooklands 1933. Terraplane in foreground is challenged by Railton-Terraplane. Bentley and Chrysler

"The Baronet's Challenge", Brooklands 1933

"The Baronet's Challenge", Brooklands 1933



Extract from Bill Boddy's The History of Brooklands Motor Course
"One final bout of speed took place before the old Track shut for winter repairs. It took the form of a private wager between Sir Guy Domville, the well-known bridge player, driving his Essex Terraplane Six and Ivor Birts, handling his "blower 4½" Bentley coupe. At first the Bentley had clutch trouble. Mr. Hurst, of Hudson-Essex, then joined in another half-mile race with his Railton and won by some three lengths with the Bentley slightly ahead of the Essex. I hope honour was met... After this the Track's surface underwent its winter repairs, a stretch over 30 feet wide being relaid in the Finishing straight along the entire length of the Paddock, while much work was done on the Members' banking and at the Fork."

  Source: John Dyson, The Railton Owners Club. Information made available by Bob Rippon (Son of former owner)
Posted: Feb 28, 2013

The first 25 production Supercharged 4½ Litre cars where Chassis Nos. SM3901-SM3925, all with "smooth-case" blowers. The next 25 were Chassis Nos. MS3926-MS3950 and had "rib-case" blowers.

Production Blower Bentleys had handbrake handles made from rectangular stainless steel, whereas the five 4½ litre race cars for Tim Birkin had the "H" section handle, but were drilled for lightness.

  Source: Robert McLellan
Posted: Feb 20, 2008

The original owner Colonel Ivor Watkins Birts was killed in a plane crash in 1944, when it appears he may have been on some kind of SOE war mission.

Birth: 1910, England
Death: Apr. 17, 1944, At Sea

Lieutenant Colonel, Royal Artillery.
Service No: 132903
Son of William Lomas Watkins Birts and of Lilian Grace Birts (nee Stephens); husband of Marie Josephine Birts (nee Bain), of Westminster, London. B.A. (Oxon.). Barrister.
Age: 34


District: St. Austell
Volume & Page: 5c & 111

RAF 525 Squadron’s Vickers Warwick III (#BV 247) aircraft, with fourteen air crew members and passengers aboard, had taken off from RAF Station St. Mawgan, Newquay , Cornwall, on a scheduled service flight (England to Algiers Maison Blance airport, via Gibraltar), when it exploded in mid-air and crashed into Watergate Bay near Newquay Bay. All 14 on board the aircraft perished in the crash. The Warwick was thought to be carrying several top-secret agents, military advisers, linguists and top-secret documents, as well as thousands of £100 bills and possibly boxes of gold (thought to be for use in helping to finance European underground groups).

The passengers included two French officers enroute to meet with General Charles DeGaulle in Cairo; two Polish couriers enroute to Warsaw; one senior staff officer enroute to Cairo; one Greek expert enroute to Greece; one Hungarian / Canadian enroute to Hungary on an S. O. E. mission; three S. O. E. officers; and one Russian-speaking MI6 officer enroute to Yugoslavia to meet with Tito partisans.

Fairpark Cemetery
St Columb Minor
Cornwall Unitary Authority
Cornwall, England
Plot: C. of E. plot. Cons. Grave 685.

Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Sheilia W.
Record added: Aug 10, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56878750

  Source: Find A Grave (Made available by Robert Craven)
Posted: Oct 27, 2017
Chassis No. MS3936
Engine No. MS3939
Registration No. GP 1630
Date of Delivery: Jun 1931
Type of Body: Coupe
Coachbuilder: LANCEFIELD
Type of Car: N
First Owner: Ivor Watkins Birts
  More Info: Michael Hay, in his book Bentley: The Vintage Years, 1997, states: "D/7240. Rebuilt as Le Mans Replica after 18 years in a field, original body rotten. S/C 148 ex ch. MS 3948."  
  Posted: Mar 01, 2007  
Submit more information on this car
Dec 15, 2017 - Info and photographs received from Hans Hugenholtz for Chassis No. KM3088
Dec 14, 2017 - Info and photographs added for Registration Nos. GP 31 & GP 401
Dec 13, 2017 - Info and photograph added for Registration Nos. YR 4575 & XP 8879

October 2017 issue
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