BENTLEY, A LEGEND IS REBORN

Bentley has announced a limited series of a replica edition of the 1920s, 4½-litre Blower, one of the British brand’s most iconic cars.

There will only be twelve. Perfectly identical to the original. Destined for a very select group of vintage lovers. Produced with the care, meticulousness and artisan skill found in every model manufactured by the Crewe-based producer. Twelve, one for every race in which the four original models of the 4½-litre Bentley Blower took part. A car that became a legend and which had an incredible impact on the collective imagination of the automotive and racing world as well as on car lovers before the Second World War. And even if it won very few competitions, it was still one of the fastest cars of the time. Accurate in every detail except for the odd technicality and change due to modern safety regulations. The task of building the car has been entrusted to Mulliner’s team of specialists that deals with Bentley’s special projects and which has already completed, among other things, the recovery and reconstruction, from scratch, of the legendary Corniche 1939, a model that was destroyed in France during the bombing at the beginning of World War II.

Estimated production time is about two years. The car will be based on the 1929 Team Blower, driven in several races, including the Le Mans 24 hours, by British driver Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin, perhaps the most famous of the Bentley Boys, as the heterogeneous group of the British brand and motor racing fans were nicknamed. The car is now part of the Crewe company’s historical collection. For greater accuracy in reproducing the vehicle, Sir Birkin’s car will be totally dismantled and every component scanned. First and foremost, the structure will be recreated in pressed steel followed by the half-elliptic leaf spring suspension. Bentley & Draper dampers and four mechanical Bentley-Perrot 40 cm drum brakes plus the worm and sector steering will complete the chassis. Next will come the powerful 4398cc, 4-cylinder – non-detachable with cast iron heads – and 16-valve engine, supercharged by the classic Roots Amherst Villiers Mk IV compressor designed specifically for the races. The compressor will be the part that puts the Mulliner engineers, technicians and artisans to the greatest test as they will have to totally dismantle the one installed on the car with chassis number HB3403 in order to analyse every single component and create exact replicas in 3D. In order to be as faithful as possible to the spirit of the project, the original moulds will be used and each component will be assembled by hand using tooling jigs and original hand tools found in the workshop at the time. The engine will have the same 245 horsepower as the original. The project comes from collectors’ ever-increasing interest in being able to exhibit one of those famous Blowers at vintage car races and elegance competitions. An impossible desire seeing the lack of vehicles in perfect state and since many of them are part of vintage car museum collections. «We know there is demand for genuine recreations that can be used, enjoyed and loved without risk to the prized originals» said Adrian Hallmark, CEO Bentley.
The trend for replica versions is becoming more and more interesting for the luxury car market. Every brand is offering one or more iconic models from their historical production to meet the demand of collectors and enthusiasts. For example, Jaguar has re-proposed some famous racing models such as the E-Type Lightweight and the D-Type “long nose”, winner of the Le Mans in 1955 with Mike Hawthorn, while Aston Martin has made replicas of the famous DB in its various evolutions, including the DB5 driven by James Bond.

«In our centenary year» said Adrian Hallmark, CEO Bentley, «we have decided to look to our past and combine it with the latest and most innovative techniques and technologies to create something truly extraordinary. We know that the four original Team Blowers are the most valuable Bentleys in the world and that very many customers are looking for genuine recreations to love and drive without putting the inestimable value of the originals at risk. The twelve new Blowers will not only be homage to our past and our tradition but also a celebration of the outstanding skills of our Mulliner craftsmen. Twelve lucky customers will soon be able to drive a unique tribute to Bentley’s history».