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.