The 1936 Bentley Pacey-Hassan is the epitome of that rare breed of fast, powerful racing Bentleys that dominated the races of their era.
This car is particularly special because it brought together two of the foremost names of the day. Bentley racer and owner, Bill Pacey, called on Bentley boy and fellow driver, Woolf Bernato, to borrow the services of Walter ‘Wally’ Hassan and create a 4 ½ litre racer to the very latest standards.
The Pacey-Hassan is the result of this partnership, and it was finished in time for its racing debut at the 1936 Brooklands Easter meeting. This was a successful debut since it won the race, lapping at a speed of 117.46mph.
This was to prove the start of a very successful debut year for the car, as Pacey managed to place in all four races he drove in 1936, with highlights including a win at the Whitsun Meeting ‘Gold Star’ race.
The car itself is, like many Bentleys of the era, built using a combination of parts from existing cars and bespoke, new elements. The low-slung chassis was built especially for the Pacey-Hassan and was paired with a sleek and narrow single-seater body.
The original 4 ½ litre engine came from Pacey’s existing racing Bentley, but it was modified for the Pacey-Hassan car. It was bored out to 101mm and fitted with stronger components. The car was even developed with a supercharger and a 3-litre engine in an effort for greater top speeds – its fastest ever flying lap was clocked at 129mph.
It continues to feature regularly in races, and even acted as a tongue-in-cheek safety car at the 2014 Benjafield’s Racing Club 24-hour race at Portimão in Portugal. The car took part in the Benjafield’s Goodwood Sprint on 21 May 2016.
Car displayed courtesy of Andrea Pohl
Photography by Martyn Goddard