Vehicle News from Sri Lanka: ‘The twelve new Blowers will not only be an 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.”
One of the most iconic cars in Bentley’s history–the supercharged 41⁄2-liter “Blower” from Sir Tim Birkin in 1929–is to be reborn with a fresh building of 12 matching cars, each separately crafted by a team of experts from Bentley’s Mulliner specialist and coachwork division. Together, the new vehicles will be the first continuation series of pre-war race vehicles in the world.
Birkin built only four original’ Team Blowers’ in the early 1920s for racing. Everyone was campaigned on Europe’s racetracks, with the most popular vehicle –Birkin’s own Team Car No. 2, UU 5872 registration–racing at Le Mans and playing a crucial part in 1930’s Bentley Speed Six win.
Now, using a mixture of hand-craftsmanship skills generations and the recent digital technology, the 1929 Team Blower will be the master example of 12 continuations-one for each race in which the original four Team Blowers fleet competed.
The Bentley Blower Continuation Series was announced today at the Salon Privé Concours d’Elegance by Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Adrian Hallmark, who comments:
“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.
Bentley’s own Team Blower – chassis number HB 3403 – will be disassembled to its individual components, before each part is cataloged and meticulously scanned in 3D to create a complete digital model of the entire car. Using the original 1920s molds and tooling jigs, and an array of traditional hand tools alongside the latest manufacturing technology, 12 sets of parts will then be created, before Bentley’s skilled heritage technicians assemble the new Blowers. 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 vehicle will then be reassembled, taking the chance for the legacy team to finish a thorough inspection and friendly mechanical restoration where necessary. The 90-year-old vehicle is still used frequently on the highway, including completion of this year’s Mille Miglia, regular hill runs at the Goodwood Speed Festival and the latest tour up the California shoreline including a parade at Laguna Seca and culminating in the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where the vehicle appeared with two of the other three Team Blowers.
The project is the latest in a sequence of Mulliner commissions, including the recent Continental GT Number 9 Edition–a wonderful version inspired by the Team Blower of Bentley’s third-generation Grand Tourer. Each of the 100 hundred cars being built features a piece of the original car on the dashboard, and the series is sold out as soon as it is announced.
As a continuation of the initial Team Blower, four-cylinder, 16-valve motors with an aluminum crankcase with cast iron cylinder liners and non-detachable cast-iron cylinder head will feature each of the new Continuation Series vehicles. The supercharger will be a precise replica of the roots-type supercharger Amherst Villiers Mk IV, which will help the 4398 cc motor grow 240 bhp @ 4,200 rpm. The design of the car will be a pressed steel frame with a half-elliptic leaf spring suspension with copies of dampers from Bentley & Draper. Mechanical drum brakes and worm and sector steering recreations of Bentley-Perrot 40 cm (17.75) “finish the chassis.