bentley-blower-in-studio 2

Bentley Blower Continuation Series

One of the most iconic cars from Bentley’s history – Sir Tim Birkin’s 1929 supercharged 4½-litre “Blower” – is to be reborn with a new build of 12 matching cars, each individually handcrafted by a team of specialists from Bentley’s bespoking and coachwork division, Mulliner. Together, the new cars will form the world’s first pre-war race car continuation series.

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 12 continuations - one for each race that the original fleet of four Team Blowers competed in.

Bentley-Blower-overhead

Using original Blower DNA

Bentley’s own Team Blower – chassis number HB 3403 - will be disassembled to its individual components, before each part is 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 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 and aesthetically– with only minimal hidden changes dictated by modern safety concerns.

The original car will then be 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.

Bentley-Blower-Interior

A continuation of original elements

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 will be 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 will be 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.

It will take Mulliner approximately two years of meticulous work to complete the 12-car series. Prices will be on application.

Bentley-Blower-rear

Story of the Blower

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.