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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1936
Numbers built:1
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:April 08, 2020
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Click here to download printer friendly versionRacing in the United Kingdom revolved around the Brooklands Motor Circuit until the late 1930s. Built in 1907, this was the world's first permanent, banked racing track. Most who raced at Brooklands competed in modified road cars but during the 1930s there were a handful of specials built with the sole purpose of lapping the notoriously bumpy track as fast as possible.

An engineer who had a hand in quite a few of these was Walter 'Wally' Hassan. He had been Bentley's 14th employee and perhaps the company's most talented. When Rolls-Royce took over, Hassan was hired by former chairman and legendary 'Bentley Boy' Woolf Barnato as his personal mechanic. For Barnato, Hassan built a special around a Bentley 8-Litre engine for the 1935 season. It was driven with great verve by young lawyer Oliver Bertram.

One of the drivers that raced against the 'Barnato-Hassan Special' was Bill Pacey, who fielded a 3-Litre Bentley with a 4½-Litre engine. His car was also looked after by Hassan during the 1935 season. Pacey was so enthralled by Barnato's Special that he wrote to him asking permission for Hassan to build him a Special much along the same lines to race during the 1936 season. This was granted and Hassan, along with his brother in law, Wally Saunders started work on what would become the Pacey-Hassan Special.

Applying the lessons learned during the 1935 season, Hassan opted to build a car that was as narrow as possible around a custom frame that was built by Rubery Owen. It was suspended by semi-elliptic leaf springs on all four corners, while brakes were only fitted on the rear axle to safe weight. The Pacey-Hassan was fitted with a narrow single seater body with a cowled radiator. Barnato's car was similarly modified and also ran as a central-seat, single seater racer during the 1936 season.

Carried over from Pacey's old racing car was the 4½-Litre engine, which was bored to 101 mm, which gave a displacement of 4,487 cc. With so many different cars racing at Brooklands, the field was somewhat levelled by handicaps. Hassan had such confidence in his design that he fitted the engine with compression plates that could be removed when attempts were made to slow the car down. As a result, the engine could be run with a compression ratio ranging from 6.5:1 to 10:1. At 6:1, Hassan believed it produced around 140 bhp at 4,200 rpm.

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  Article Image gallery (21) Specifications