- bentley is building a dozen reproductions of its classic blower bentley supercharged race cars, part of the ongoing celebration of the brand's centenary.
- engineers at bentley will make precise replicas of the 4.5-liter engine with the roots-type supercharger that gave the blower its name, the automaker says.
- the company is taking applications to choose the lucky 12 people who will get to own, drive, and enjoy these throwbacks. how much? they're not saying yet.
everyone knows that prewar bentleys are extremely valuable and extremely rare; the last one to sell at auction went for more than $8 million. that is one of the reasons it makes sense that bentley has a dozen factory reproductions of the classic blower bentley race cars in the works right now.
earlier this year, the company traveled back in time to 1939, so turning the clock back another decade to visit 1929 is a logical next step. the company's mulliner division re-created a 1939 bentley corniche that had been crashed twice and bombed once during world war ii. the all-new resurrection was carefully built to match the original using the technical drawings made 80 years ago and was then sent off to be displayed at bentley's 2019 centenary. the corniche has since been made a part of bentley's heritage fleet, and the restoration skills honed in the project gave bentley the confidence to tackle something bigger. like 12 times bigger.
currently, there are only four "blower bentleys" in the world. the company is building the 12 new versions, if we can call them that, of the classic by combining generations of craftsman knowledge with digital technology. the basis for all of this work will be the 4.5-liter 1929 blower bentley made famous by sir tim birkin on various racetracks in europe. that car still belongs to the automaker, so bentley restoration specialists are going to take it entirely apart, catalog each piece, and then scan each part into a 3d digital model. from there, bentley will use old and new manufacturing techniques, including some of the original 1920s molds and tooling jigs, to build a dozen copies of each part. then the puzzle will be put back together and, you've got what bentley is calling "genuine re-creations" that will be part of a new continuation series. the company is making 12 more of these vehicles because that's how many races the original fleet of team blowers competed in.
as with the original, the "new" blowers will have a four-cylinder, 16-valve engine with an exact replica of the amherst villiers mark iv roots-type supercharger that together produce 243 horsepower. there will also be pressed steel frames, half-elliptic leaf spring suspensions, and re-creations of the bentley-perrot mechanical drum brakes on the new cars. the only updates the company is making will be "minimal hidden changes dictated by modern safety concerns."
even though the original team car that is being cloned to make the continuation series is still used on public roads from time to time, bentley ceo adrian hallmark said in a statement that "there is demand for genuine re-creations that can be used, enjoyed, and loved without risk to the prized originals." bentley thinks it will take two years to build (re-build?) the new cars, and the company is taking applications for the right to buy them. only after approval will applicants learn how much it costs. and then they'll presumably decide if it should be used, enjoyed, and loved or saved for the future.