The Brooklands Society
know your cars and drivers section


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Woolf Barnato

Known as ‘Babe’, Woolf Barnato was the grandson of a Isaac Isaacs a shop keeper living in the East end of London. At the age of 21, his son Barnett who changed his name to Barnato, left for South Africa with 25 in his pocket to join his brother and make his fortune in the Kimberley diamond mines. Barnett ultimately became super wealthy but on returning to England by ship, with his two year old son Woolf, many years later he disappeared over the side and Woolf ultimately inherited his fortune after a seven year legal battle in later life.

Basically he was a financier who lived the highlife and a very keen sportsman to boot. He went on to finance Bentley and became it’s chairman until it was eventually bought out by Rolls Royce, a company in which he also owned shares and was involved in.

Despite his muscle in the company he was always prepared to accept team orders and he was regarded as one of their most reliable drivers.Out of eight races he started wit the Bentley team he was first in five of them, three of which were Le Mans wins.

He gave his name to the car he commissioned Walter Hassan to build around the original engine from the Bentley ‘Old Number 1’. This of course was the 6 litre Barnato-Hassan which was later acquired by Oliver Bertram who after changing the engine set the Brooklands Outer Circuit lap record on the 5th August 1934 to 142.60 m.p.h.

Barnato was married three times, his third marriage being only a few months before he died in 1948.

 

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| Performance Parameters | General Data |

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