”Little Red”, FR5189, was the first ever supercharged Bentley. It was supercharged in the winter of 1927 at the Bentley works in Cricklewood, making it the only Bentley supercharged at the factory, and the only ‘blown’ 3 Litre.
It has always been red and a two seater. The car was originally a 1922 flat radiator ‘TT’ car owned by George Porter, the Bentley dealer for Northern England. He raced it at sprints, hillclimbs and Brooklands, and it was considered one of the fastest cars in the country.
Porter crashed and died in the car in 1925, and it was bought by the Cunliffe family, to be raced by May Cunliffe. She campaigned the car at Southport Sands and Shelsley Walsh, getting a fastest time of the day at the later against strong male competition.
In their quest for more power, the family asked Bentley Boy Bertie Kensington-Moir, who ran the Bentley service department, if he would supercharge the car. This gave the car 25lbs of boost, 147bhp and a top speed in excess of 115mph, but with no front brakes!
May’s well-reported exploits in the 1920s made this car a well-known racing Bentley. The car is still raced today by Rachel Singer, who won the Bentley Drivers Club handicap in it.