90 yrs on, Bentley is bringing back the Blower. The most iconic, as well as the rarest and most valuable of all Bentley’s models, the 4.5-litre works Blower that Sir Tim Birkin raced at Le Mans is going to be the “master” for a continuation run of 12 newly-built recreations.
It is the 1st time Bentley has looked to its Hero models from the past and made a continuation version, joining a trend made popular by companies like Aston Martin (the DB4 GT Zagato Continuation will be at the 2019 Revival), Jaguar and Lister.
Bentley, along with recent continuation convert Alvis, are the only firms to offer a pre-war continuation model.
The Big Q: What else could a reborn Bentley be but a Blower, and in particular 1 of the 4 Team Blowers made for Sir Tim Birkin to show that supercharged power could dominate the great endurance races of the 1930’s, something it never actually achieved, the un-superchaged Bentley Speed Six won Le Mans in 1930.
Despite not winning a Blue Riband race the Blower was acclaimed as the fastest car of its day with its Roots-type supercharger boosting the 4.5’s power from 130 to 240bhp. As well as the 4 extant competition cars, Sir Tim Birkin persuaded Bentley Chairman Woolf Barnato to make a run of 55 customer cars.
Fun Fact: Ian Fleming saw his James Bond character driving one, in his novels though not the 007 films.
That the Blower is today revered as a British racing icon is something we have often been reminded of at Goodwood when Sir Tim’s own 1929 car (the 1 photographed above) has taken on the hillclimb at the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard.
12 works recreations are to be built by Mulliner in a run that will take 2 years to complete. A run of 12 was chosen to reflect the 12 races that the 4 Birkin cars participated in.
Bentley says they will be identical to the original with safety upgrades. Bentley bespoke division Mulliner will hand-craft each car to be a mirror image of the Birkin c/n 2 car, owned by Bentley Motors since Y 2000. The famous racer will be disassembled into its individual components. Each part will be scanned in 3D to make a digital model of the car. Then 12 sets of parts will then be created using original 1920’s moulds and tooling jigs alongside the latest manufacturing technology. The original car will then be reassembled.
Bentley Motors is a unit of Volkswagen AG (OTCMKT:VLKAF)