While the race results were impressive the company’s finances were not, but respite came from a group of well-heeled motoring enthusiasts. Made up of Dr. J. Dudley ‘Benjy’ Benjafield, Woolf ‘Babe’ Barnato, Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin, John Duff, Frank Clement, motoring journalist S.C.H. ‘Sammy’ Davis, John Duff, steeplechaser George Duller, Clive Dunfee, Jack Dunfee, Dudley Froy, Baron Andre d’Erlanger, engineer Clive Gallop, aviator Glen Kidston, pearl fishery magnate Bernard Rubin, Bertie Kensington Moir and French racing driver Jean Chassagne, these chaps lived the highlife, partying and driving hard. W.O.’s cars, with all the luxury and performance, were their weapons of choice and the posse soon became known as the Bentley Boys.
In 1925 the books really looked poor and facing closure Barnato, heir to Kimberley diamond magnate Barney Barnato, stepped up to the plate and became the majority shareholder of Bentley.
With coachbuilders fitting bigger and heavier bodies to customers’ road cars Bentley increased the 3-litres chassis dimensions and looked into generating more power. Birkin was convinced the solution was a supercharger but W.O. turned his nose up at this idea, believing that that increasing displacement was a more preferable solution than forced induction – especially under the rigours of endurance racing. Both kept up their philosophies with Bentley developing a 4½-litre engine while Birkin, with the blessing from Barnato’s cheque book, roped in Amherst Villiers to engineer a supercharged version known as the Blower Bentley. The story goes that W.O. wouldn’t allow his engine to be modified to incorporate the supercharger, resulting in the supercharger being placed at the end of the 4-cylinder’s crankshaft, in front of the radiator, giving the Blower Bentley an easily recognisable appearance but also increasing understeer as the extra weight sat in front of the axles.