Car companies are pretty hot on trading on their heritage of late. You’ve got re-imagined cars of old like the Mustang or the mighty Alpine A110. Or, how about the DB4 Zegato from Aston Martin? A work of art built to exacting standards with track use the main objective. Yep, re-imagining, recreations, continuations, whatever they’re called this week, they’re big business. These expensive, rare machines are the stuff of motoring legend, and it turns out the light is on and burning brightly for the wealthy, who are queuing up to get their hands on one.
Of course, the orders will only come in for the right car. If Ford announced a recreation of the Mk4 Cortina, sales may wain. But when Bentley says it’s going to bring the mighty Blower back from the pages of history, cheque books starts fluttering. And rightly so, because each of the twelve cars Bentley is promising to create will be built in a way like no other modern-day recreation. In fact, of all the niche motoring rebirths we’ve seen, the Blower seems to be the most authentic.
Before we get onto the new car though, we should look at what makes the original so very special. It was the outright fastest car of its day, thanks to being propelled by a supercharged 4.5 litre engine with some 240bhp – a phenomenal amount of power for a pre-war car.
The cars were the vision Sir Tim Bilkin, an accomplished racing driver of the time and a recognised ‘Bentley Boy’ to boot. He saw the potential in the car, and saw that the 4.5 engine with a Rootes supercharger would have the perfect balance of power delivery and outright speed. It was Bilkin who encouraged Bentley to build 55 of these cars, with five to be retained for competition, though in the end only four were built for racing duties.
These four cars were pivotal in Bentley’s racing endeavours. It was perhaps Birkin’s own car, however, registration UU5872, that saw the most success. Birkin raced it across Europe, including Le Mans. The same car was also instrumental in the bentley Speed Six victory of 1930. And impressive machine, then.
So what of the ‘new’ Blower? How is it being created? Well, that’s where things get really special. Bentley and it’s specialist works, Mulliner, propose to dismantle UU5872 (the car is currently owned by Bentley) to its component parts. From there, every individual part will be 3D scanned and modelled so that it can be reproduced. This process will also afford the team the opportunity to give UU5872 a complete, yet sympathetic restoration.
Once all the data has been acquired, Bentley has said it will take the Mulliner team two years to reproduce the parts and build the twelve cars – one for every victory of the original machine. The cars will be completely faithful to the original, though Bentley has said that the car will feature some modern adaptations for safety reasons. We don’t know what exactly those adaptations will be, but their inclusion does make us wonder of these twelve cars will be road legal – it would be trilling if they were, though in reality the safety improvements will more than likely be for track reasons.
There’s no word on price yet, but it’s safe to say that these cars will be well into the millions, and while that’s a lot of money indeed, there is no escaping the fact that these cars will be like nothing else. An assault on the senses, these cars would make a welcome addition to any period race event. And not only that, the way in which they’re being built will also serve to secure the future of existing, genuine cars of this era given that every part is being recreated. It’s the perfect coming together of an iconic classic and modern technology, and while some may say it’s just another recreation cash-in, we say no to those people. This is more than that, this is a brand keeping its heritage alive.