Bernard Rubin

6/12/1896 - 27/6/1936

Record updated 27-Jun-07

One of the Bentley Boys, he won Le Mans in 1928 driving with Woolf Barnato. He quit driving the next year after an accident. He died of pulmonary tuberculosis following surgery in 1936.

Bernard Rubin
A wealthy Australian who made his money from farming and pearling interests in Western Australia. He was born in Carlton, Australia. His father, Mark Rubin, was born in Kovno, Lithuania, but he left Russia as a young man and lived for a time at Cardiff, Wales, before travelling to Sydney in December 1886 where he made his fortune. In about 1908 the family moved to London, although Mark continued to spend most of his time in Australia.

Bernard was education at Broome and University College School in Hampstead, London. In 1916 he served in the Royal Garrison Artillery, Special Reserve, and in June 1917 was commissioned and was severely wounded in France. It was three years before he could walk again.He became very wealthy on his fathers death and after a time spent shooting big game in Africa and India, he developed an interest in motor racing.

He was a friend of Woolf Barnato and, in his first race, the six-hour race at Brooklands in May 1928, he finished sixth. He then drove with Barnato at Le Mans in driving the 4.4 Litre Bentley "Old Mother Gun". On the last lap the chassis cracked, pulling out the top water hose and draining the radiator. Barnato nursed the car over the line to take the win the temperature gauge guage off the scale.

He drove at Le Mans again in June 1929, but retired. At the Irish Grand Prix in July, he finished eighth. Then on the first lap of the Ulster Tourist Trophy next month, he overturned his Bentley. Pinned under the car, Rubin and his mechanic were lucky to escape with cuts and bruises and decided to quit driving.

He later bought the second 3-litre Tipo 8C-3000 series to be built in 1932. It was the first to be supplied to a private owner and was supplied by the Officine Alfieri Maserati of Bologna for Henry R.S. 'Tim' Birkin to drive.

In 1933 he shared the wheel of an MG K3 with Sir Henry Birkin in the Mille Miglia race in Italy. Rubin's Alfa Romeo was raced in 1933 by Birkin, George Eyston and Whitney Straight. And it was in Rubin's Maserati that Birkin burned his arm during the Tripoli Grand Prix in May 1933 from which he contracted septicaemia and died five weeks later.

Rubin flew to Australia in a Leopard Moth to make preparations for the Centenary Air Race from London to Melbourne. Rubin had entered a new de Havilland Comet for the race, but was unable to compete because of sickness.

On 29 March 1935 he married Audrey Mary Simpson in Paris. He bought the Old Cloth Hall, Cranbrook, Kent, where he died of pulmonary tuberculosis following surgery on 27 June 1936.