Bentley Blower Continuation Series

One of the most iconic cars from Bentley’s history – Sir Tim Birkin’s 1929 supercharged 4½-litre “Blower” – has been reborn into a series of individually handcrafted masterpieces, by a team of specialists from Bentley’s bespoking and coachwork division, Mulliner. These cars will form the world’s first pre-war race car continuation series, and with a limited run of just 12 examples, all have already been sold.

Only four original ‘Team Blowers’ were built for racing by Birkin, in the late 1920s. All were campaigned on the racetracks of Europe, with the most famous car – Birkin’s own Team Car No. 2, registration UU 5872 – racing at Le Mans and playing a pivotal role in the factory Bentley Speed Six victory in 1930.

Now, using a combination of generations of handcraftsmanship skills and the very latest digital technology, the 1929 Team Blower will be the master example for all in this continuation build. Bentley Mulliner has now completed the first prototype for the Blower Continuation Series, and ‘Car Zero’ makes its debut as the first new Blower since 1930.

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Bentley’s own Team Blower – chassis number HB 3403 - has been disassembled to its individual components, before each part was catalogued and meticulously scanned in 3D to create a complete digital model of the entire car. Using the original 1920s moulds and tooling jigs, and an array of traditional hand tools alongside the latest manufacturing technology, 12 sets of parts were then created, before Bentley’s skilled heritage technicians assemble the new Blowers. The 12 continuations will be identical wherever possible to the original – mechanically and aesthetically– with only minimal hidden changes dictated by modern safety concerns.

The original car has been reassembled, with the heritage team taking the opportunity to complete a detailed inspection and sympathetic mechanical restoration where required.

The 90-year old Bentley Team Blower is still used regularly on the road, including completion Italy's Mille Miglia, daily hill runs at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and a recent tour up the California coastline. The Blower was seen at Monterey Car week 2019 including a parade at Laguna Seca and culminating in the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where the car appeared with two of the other three Team Blowers.

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As continuations of the original Team Blower, each of the new Continuation Series cars will feature four-cylinder, 16-valve engines with an aluminium crankcase with cast iron cylinder liners and non-detachable cast-iron cylinder head. The supercharger is an exact replica of the Amherst Villiers Mk IV roots-type supercharger helping the 4398 cc engine to develop 240 bhp @ 4,200 rpm. The car’s structure consists of a pressed steel frame, with half-elliptic leaf spring suspension with copies of Bentley & Draper dampers. Recreations of Bentley-Perrot 40 cm (17.75”) mechanical drum brakes and worm and sector steering complete the chassis.

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No other pre-war Bentley had an impact like the supercharged 4½-litre ‘Blower’ Bentley. While it never won an endurance race, the Blower Bentley was the outright fastest race car of the day, and counted amongst its fans the author Ian Fleming – who later decided that his famous fictional secret agent James Bond would drive a supercharged 4½-litre Bentley, with the often-associated rival British sports car merely the MI6 “pool car”.

The Blower Bentleys were born from a philosophy devised by Sir Tim Birkin – notable racing driver and Bentley Boy – to extract more speed from the racing Bentleys of the day. While W.O Bentley’s method was to increase engine capacity – from 3-litre, to 4½-litre, to 6½-litre – Birkin was impressed by the Roots-type supercharger developed by British engineer Amherst Villiers, which boosted the 4½’s power from 130 bhp to 240 bhp in race tune. He persuaded Bentley Chairman Woolf Barnato to sanction production of 55 supercharged 4½-litre Bentleys, with five allocated for competition. The car on Bentley’s heritage fleet - UU 5872 - is the second of the four ‘Team’ cars developed at Birkin & Co’s workshops at Welwyn Garden City with funding from wealthy heiress the Hon. Dorothy Paget.

Read more about the original Blower here.

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Car Zero

After 40,000 hours of work, Bentley Mulliner has completed the first new Bentley Blower in 90 years, with the delivery of Car Zero – the prototype car for the Blower Continuation Series. 

Blower Car Zero is a dedicated test and development prototype, built in advance of the customer cars, and will be subjected to months of durability and performance testing. Finished in gloss black, with an interior in Oxblood red leather from Bridge of Weir, Car Zero has made its debut to officially mark the creation of the new Bentley Motors campus in Crewe. 

Once the build of Car Zero was complete, a programme of real world durability testing began. Sessions of gradually increasing duration and speed checked functionality and robustness under even harder conditions. The test programme was designed to achieve the equivalent of 35,000 kilometres of real world driving, including 8,000 kilometres of track driving. Car Zero’s successful completion of testing has allowed Bentley Mulliner’s skilled engineers and craftsman to begin the assembly of the 12 customer cars, each individually crafted.

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