Bentley is about to create a new series of 12 supercharged 4½-litre “Blower” Bentleys but the purists are rattling their classic sabres.
The ‘new’ cars will be created from one of the most iconic and legendary classics, Sir Tim Birkin’s famous 4½-litre Team Blower accompanied by Specialist Mulliner team expertise. Reborn in a series of 12 matching cars, each will be handcrafted by Bentley’s bespoke and coachwork division, Mulliner. Bentley says the cars will “form the world’s first pre-war race car continuation series”.
There are many classic purists who are of the opinion far too many have been ‘recreated’ already, with Bentley chassis being used as the basis for the new suspension, cross-member with the subsequent engine and supercharger fitment. One could argue if the recreation has been carried out with due care and attention to detail, the end product remains a truly wonderful experience to the beholder.
Four Original ‘Team Blowers’
In the late 1920s, there were only four original ‘Team Blowers’ built for racing by Birkin, all of which were given racing battles. Birkin’s own Team Car No. 2, registration UU 5872, raced at Le Mans and played a pivotal role in the factory Bentley Speed Six victory in 1930.
Now, using Bentley’s renowned handcraftsmanship and the very latest digital technology, the 1929 Team Blower will be the master example for 12 continuations – one for each race that the original rip-roaring fleet of four Team Blowers competed in.
The Bentley Blower Continuation Series was announced today at the Salon Privé Concours d’Elegance by Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Adrian Hallmark:
“As we continue to commemorate 100 years of Bentley, we are combining a look to our past with the very latest digital technologies and techniques to create something truly extraordinary. The four Team Blowers are the most valuable Bentleys in the world, and we know there is demand for genuine recreations that can be used, enjoyed and loved without risk to the prized originals.
‘The 12 new Blowers will not only be a homage to our heritage, but they will also be a celebration of the outstanding skills of our Mulliner craftspeople. This is a new challenge for Bentley, but with the incredible success of the recent restoration of our 1939 one-of-one Corniche, we wanted to go one step further and make something even more special. Twelve lucky customers will soon be able to own a unique tribute to Bentley’s history.”
Bentley Recreating the Blowers
Bentley’s has said it’s very own Team Blower – chassis number HB 3403 – will be disassembled to its individual components, before each part is catalogued and meticulously scanned in 3D to create a complete digital model of the entire car.
Using the original 1920s moulds and tooling jigs, and traditional hand tools alongside the latest manufacturing technology, 12 sets of parts will then be created, before assembly.
The 12 continuations will be identical wherever possible to the original – mechanically, aesthetically and spiritually – with only minimal hidden changes dictated by modern safety concerns. The original car will then be reassembled, with the heritage team taking the opportunity to complete a detailed inspection and sympathetic mechanical restoration where required.
It will take Mulliner approximately two years of meticulous work to complete the 12-car series. Prices have not been finalised and will be on application.