It would appear that the legendary ‘Birkin’ 4.5-litre Bentley might not be leaving our shores after all.
In 2012 at Bonhams’ Festival of Speed sale the famous single-seater Bentley sold for a record (for a British built car) £5,042,000. That was quite a story, but it paled into insignificance compared to what then unfolded.
The car, which once held the lap record at Brooklands, was bought by a foreign buyer and there was concern that it would leave the country, so much so that Culture Minister Ed Vaisey managed to place a temporary export bar on it. The upshot of this was that if someone, somewhere could to come up with the sale figure then it would no longer be the property of the person who bought it and could not be exported.
Despite a campaign to raise the money (and a generous amount of time in which to achieve this) nothing of any note happened and the deadline to raise the funds (31st May of this year) expired. The punchline would appear to be that the car will be staying in the UK after all.
In the wake of the sale the car was sent to Bentley specialists NDR which has been carrying out a full restoration in order to return it to its period specification. GRR caught up with Neil Davis himself for an update on the car (more on that soon) and he explained that, according to the owner, the car will now be staying in the country.
This is great news, not only because it’s a major piece of British motor racing heritage, but also because we might see it hustled up the hill at FoS once more. Hip hip…!