BRITISH luxury brand Bentley has become the latest car maker to jump on the classic car remake bandwagon, by announcing it will build near-exact replicas of its most famous pre-war racing model.
The first “Continuation Series” project, announced as part of the brand’s centenary celebrations this year, will see the Crewe-based car maker build brand new versions of the 4.5-litre Bentley “Blower” — so nicknamed because the engine was blown by a supercharger.
The 12 examples that Bentley plans to make (one for every race the 4.5-litre entered in period) will be based on the 1929 Team Blower that was driven in events including the Le Mans 24 Hours by British racing driver Tim Birkin, perhaps the best-known of the “Bentley Boys”. The original car is now part of Bentley’s heritage collection.
In order to ensure each continuation 4.5-litre is as authentic as possible, Bentley says it will disassemble Birkin’s car and meticulously scan every component, before putting the original vehicle back together again. The car maker’s Mulliner special vehicles division will then build 12 batches of the parts they need, and begin bolting them all together to form the new Blowers.
While modern safety standards mean the new 4.5-litres won’t be 100% identical to the works racing vehicle, Bentley says they will remain as faithful to the originals as possible. Exact replicas of brakes, suspension and supercharger will be built, and each continuation Blower will be assembled by hand using original moulds, tooling jigs and traditional hand tools.
As the finishing touch, Bentley says the four-cylinder engine (which, despite the car’s name, is actually 4.4-litres in size) will be just as powerful as the original racing cars were back in the day; churning out a healthy 240bhp.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, building a dozen almost-exact remakes of a 90-year old car by hand won’t be a rushed job: according to Bentley, it will take Mulliner around two years to build all 12 examples. Despite the long lead time and the likely incredibly high asking price (Bentley has declined to reveal exactly how much each Blower remake will cost its VIP clients), the car maker hasn’t struggled to find them all homes: every single 4.5-litre continuation model has already been sold.
Bentley’s run of supercharged 4.5-litre remakes is the latest in a growing line of continuation replicas that other car makers have announced. Jaguar has built batches of historic racing cars including the E-Type Lightweight and Le Mans-winning D-Type, while Aston Martin’s continuation car efforts include the DB4 GT Zagato and even a series of James Bond-spec Aston Martin DB5s.
While the Bentley Blower Continuation Series is the car maker’s first crack at building a batch of classic car replicas, it isn’t the first time the car maker has built an almost-exact version of an older model. In August this year, Bentley unveiled the Mulliner division’s recreation of the streamlined 1939 Bentley Corniche prototype that was destroyed in a bombing raid during the Second World War.