Bentley Plans To Produce 12 Continuation Models of The Famous Pre-War 4½ Litre Team Blower Model
Bentley’s centenary year has been a busy one for the marque, with the announcement of new models and numerous celebrations at motor shows around the globe, including the recent reveal of the beautifully restored 1939 Corniche at the prestigious Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance at Blenheim Palace.
But they’re far from finished: the specialist Mulliner team that was responsible for the Corniche also took the opportunity at Salon Privé to reveal that they will also be recreating the brand’s most revered heritage car, the 4½ Litre Team Blower that was campaigned across European race tracks in the 1920s.
Sir Tim Birkin built four Team Blowers in the late 1920s. These cars have become the most valuable Bentleys in existence and the Mulliner team will build 12 identical recreations (one for each race that the original quartet competed in). Bentley’s chairman and chief executive Adrian Hallmark commented, “The 12 new Blowers will not only be an homage to our heritage, they will be a celebration of the outstanding skills of our Mulliner craftspeople. This is a new challenge for Bentley, but with the incredible success of the recent restoration of our 1939 one-of-one Corniche, we wanted to go one step further and make something even more special. Twelve lucky customers will soon be able to own a unique tribute to Bentley’s history.”
He goes on to say that there has been strong demand for genuine recreations that can be used and enjoyed without risking damage to an original car, although we suspect that the pricing of these continuation models will not be falling into the affordable category for most enthusiasts.
The Mulliner Team will take approximately two years to complete the dozen cars and will be using a mixture of cutting-edge technology and traditional construction methods to ensure that each vehicle is as close to the original as possible. Bentley’s own original Team Blower, Chassis HB 3403, will be disassembled and scanned in 3D to create a digital model whereafter traditional hand tools and moulds and jigs from the 1920s will be used to create each component.
Each recreation will also feature an exact replica of the four-cylinder, 16-valve, 4.4-liter engine complete with the Amherst Villiers Mk IV roots-type supercharger, which helped push power output to 240hp. These Blower Bentleys were among the very fastest racing cars in their day and competed in some of the most grueling endurance races such as the 24 Hours of LeMans, in which they helped the Speed Six works team achieve victory over the mighty Mercedes SSKs.
They also found fame in Ian Fleming’s early novels, becoming James Bond’s favored choice of vehicle. These 12 recreations are sure to become famous in their own right too. Hopefully their owners will use them as intended and give other Bentley fans the chance to see them in action at classic car events around the world.
Images courtesy of Bentley