The iconic pre-war Bentley 4½-litre Blower will be recreated in a new series of 12 cars
Bentley has announced that it will build a new series of 4½-litre ‘Blower’ cars from scratch, using original moulds and scans of existing cars. A total of 12 models will be built as part of the recreation series. Each will be sold for a price that Bentley refuses to name.
The company describes the project as a “tribute” to the pre-war race car, and the production run commemorates the 12 races entered by the Team Blowers.
First built and raced in the late 1920s by Sir Tim Birkin, one of the Bentley Boys, the Team Blower Bentleys were amongst the fastest racing cars of the day and a Birkin-car helped to grind down the Mercedes opposition at the 1930 Le Mans 24 Hours, allowing the Bentley Speed Six to take victory.
When Birkin finished second at the 1930 French Grand Prix at Pau, ruining hopes of an all-Bugatti podium and coming close to winning, Ettore Bugatti commented that Bentleys were the fastest trucks in the world, a nod to the car’s two-tonne weight.
Birkin’s early 4½-litre Blower displayed enough performance to persuade Bentley to produce a run of 55 to the same specification in order to meet Le Mans competition rules — including five ‘Team Blower’ cars allocated for competition use, but the car never won a race — a fact that hasn’t diminished its appeal.
The Bentley project follows the likes of Jaguar and Aston Martin (but not yet Bugatti) in producing new ‘period-correct’ versions of their best-loved historic models, and selling them at a high price to collectors.
Bentley’s specialist coachworks division Mulliner will be responsible for developing and building the new series of 12, which are unlikely to be eligible for historic events, such as the Goodwood Revival.
A Bentley-owned ‘Team Blower’ car will form the blueprint for the new production run, and will be disassembled, scanned in 3D and catalogued.
Some parts will then be manufactured using 1920s moulds and tooling jigs, with hand tools and modern production techniques used for other components.
Speaking at the Salon Privé Concours d’Elegance, Bentley chairman and chief executive, Adrian Hallmark announced the series and said it would be a combination of past and present.
“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 an homage to our heritage, they will be a celebration of the outstanding skills of our Mulliner craftspeople.”
The recreation series won’t be entirely identical to the cars that came 90 years before: some — unrevealed — adjustments are being made for safety reasons but Bentley says that these will be minimal and hidden.
“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,” Hallmark added.
The recreation series follows Bentley’s success of the Blower-inspired Continental GT Number 9 Edition series.