Bentley Special Racer “Old Mother Gun”
Originally constructed in 1927, serial number ST-3001 was one of the Bentley works-prepared racers for the 1927 24 Hours of Le Mans. At the end of its illustrous career, over 2 decades later, it didn’t look anything like it did in 1927. After being rebodied, technically modfied and nicknamed, ST-3001, Jackson Special or Mother Gun remains as one of the best known ‘specials’.
Fitted with a four cylinder engine displacing almost 4.4 litre, it was forced to retire in the 1927 Le Mans race after a multiple car shunt.
Bentley reconstructed it to campaign at Le Mans the next year. Carefully piloted by Woolf Bernato and Bernard Rubin, it took the overal victory, covering almost 2700 km. It was Woolf Bernato who gave ST-3001 a nickname that stuck, ‘Mother Gun’. It was raced once more at Le Mans the next year and finished second behind the winning 6 cylinder engined Bentley. After being campaigned for two more years, it was sold by the works to Richard Marker in 1932.
Marker wasted no time and revised Mother Gun to race at the high-speed Brooklands track. Further modifications were carried through in 1934, as a remaining 6.5 litre ‘Speed Six’ engine was fitted. Multiple successes were scored by Marker and Margaret Allan at Brooklands and other tracks before ‘Old Mother Gun’ changed hands again in 1936.
Like the previous owner, Mother Gun’s new owner, Robin Jackson, set out to revise ST-3001 to suit his needs. It took Jackson a year to completely revise the chassis, fit a single-seater body and fit new pistons and conrods. In its new guise, the ‘Jackson Special’ as it was now officially named, reminded of a lot of things but certainly not of the 1928 Le Mans winner. In this shape it still has today it recored a best lap at Brooklands with an average of a little over 217 km/h. Mother Gun finally retired in 1948 after it was used in a number of speed trials in 1947 and 1948.
Today it is campaigned by Bentley expert, Stanley Mann, in historic races across Europe. It was he who carried through a thorough restoration in 1989, to restore the Jackson Special to its 1939 form. Like it did in the late 1930s the Jackson Special was out breaking records again shortly after its restoration. In 1992 it covered 1000 miles with an average of just over 100 mph at 168 km/h.