You Finally Have a Chance to Own a 1929 Bentley Blower... Kind of
While we were waiting for new debuts at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, Bentley made a surprising announcement at the 2019 Salon Prive Concours d’Elegance in Crewe, England. The British firm launched a continuation series of the iconic Bentley Blower, a car it originally sold back in 1929. Yes, Bentley is doing exactly what Jaguar did with cars like the E-Type Lightweight, D-Type, and XK-SS, but with a much older car. The Blower will thus become the world’s first pre-war race car continuation series.
1963 Bentley S3 Saloon
The Bentley S3 Saloon, along with the Rolls-Royce Phantom V, represented the standard of luxury in Europe. The S3 marked the end of an era as it was the last production luxury sedan from Bentley with body-on-frame construction.
The Bentley S3 was the last model of British manufacturer’s S Series which was in production for a decade. The S3 replaced the S2 in 1962 and, in turn, was replaced by 1965 with the T-Series Bentley that was also a close relative to the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. The S Series came as a replacement for the antiquated R Type which had been in production since shortly after the war but was largely based on pre-war designs.
The S3 is, thus, the last of the truly classic Bentleys, so it’s only fitting that the car is one of the most elegant ever to come out with the Flying B on the hood. Performance is not that relevant on such a car but what matters, the comfort of the ride, is there aplenty. You won’t feel a bump in the road aboard the S3 even if you want to.
1932 Bentley 8-Litre Tourer
When the Great Depression struck the world, the automotive industry, like other industries at the time, suffered dramatically. It took a serious toll on Bentley; so much so, that it didn’t take long for its finances to fall into shambles, and the company to be placed in receivership. Before that happened, however, Bentley tried to turn things around by introducing the Bentley 8 Litre. It was announced to the public on September 15, 1930, and was the last completely new model from Bentley before the company fell apart and Rolls-Royce Limited took ownership of the struggling company.
Due to the timing of the Great Depression, sales of Bentley’s newest wealthy people hauler were incredibly slow. With only 100 examples produced between 1930 and 1932, that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Despite the fact that sales were poor, the 8 Litre was a fine automobile. It featured an 8-liter straight-six, and the chassis came at a cost of about $1,850. The model we’re here to talk about today is a 1932 tourer model that features coachwork by Vaden Plas. To put it shortly, the car is elegant and beautiful.
This specific model just went under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s auction during Monterey Car Week in 2016. We were on the scene and snagged a lot of good pictures of this beauty. So, let’s dive on in and take a closer look at this 1932 Bentley 8-Litre Tourer by Vaden Plas.
Keep reading for our full review.
The top-tier luxury car has evolved along different lines than other cars. The assembly line revolutionized mainstream car making, and made the automobile affordable for millions of people. But, for a car costing at least ten times what a Model T cost, a different approach was needed. With really high end luxury cars made before WWII, you would generally buy only a chassis from the actual automaker, then you would have it sent to a coachbuilder to have a body made to your particular specifications. Luxury car companies also tended to be more local businesses than mainstream car companies, as people liked to be close enough to oversee in some capacity the building of their car.
There were obviously exceptions, but this was the norm for a long time. Things changed after the Depression and WWII. A lot of luxury automakers didn’t make it through these troubling times, and those that did suddenly found themselves in a more global market. Luxury automakers would switch to standard bodies to keep up with the increased demand and to streamline logistics for foreign customers. The last Bentley that could be ordered without a standard body was this one, the S1.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1959 Bentley S1 ’Empress’ Saloon.
Bentley’s surprise unveiling of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept in Geneva was cool, but it made me think immediately of that car’s namesake. The first Bentley to carry the Speed Six name was one of the vehicles that helped to lay the groundwork for Bentley as we know it today.
The winged “B” badge graces a range of bespoke, handbuilt hyper-luxury sport coupes and sedans today, but Bentley made its name back in the day with some serious balls-of-steel sports cars. The Speed Six raced a freakin’ train, a crazy 570-mile race to settle a wager, and this was back when trains were the fastest way to get around Europe. When it comes to hard-core, Bentley is one of the original gangsters of the sports-car set — right down to the controversy about whether the car everyone claims was involved is really the one that did it. I’m not sure they even give out this kind of street cred any more.
Continue reading to learn more about the Bentley Speed 6.
In 1930, Bentley was a seriously dominant force in motorsports. The company had won most of the runnings of the 24 Hours of Le Mans up to that point, thanks in large part to the big “Bentley Blower” race cars. The cars packed big power from their supercharged engines, but were still very easy to control. So when Tim Birkin, fresh off his own Le Mans win in 1929, decided to take on Alfa Romeo’s dominance of the Mille Miglia, spirits were high at Bentley. It was believed that Birkin would easily win the thousand-mile endurance race, but a lack of “due preparation” meant that he never even started the race.
Now, 85 years later, it seems that the missed opportunity is still bothering a few people at Bentley, because Richard Charlesworth —Bentley’s Director of Royal and VIP Relations- will pilot a 1930, 4 ½-liter Bentley Blower at Mille Miglia over the course of 4 days. It’s not the same No. 2 “Birkin Blower” which failed to start the race in 1930, but it is a period-correct machine, easily verifiable as the most successful race car in the company’s history.
Continue reading for the full story.
What would you get when you mix an old hag known for fast moves and a younger, but proper, British gent? It’s not Madonna and Guy Ritchie, but rather the custom built "Mentley Insanne". In 2002, Andy Saunders purchased a 1983 Bentley Mulsanne Turbo with light front end damage and transformed into what is now known as “Mentley Insanne”. Every panel, except for the hood, was modified and in addition to the handmade custom work, parts of nine different cars were employed. The current generation Range Rover being the most obvious.
Custom work includes the roof was lowered 76 millimetres, and ends in a glass landau top from the panoramic roof of a Mercedes-Benz 280SL. Range Rover front and rear lights are incorporated as well as side air vents. Although the grille seems to be untouched, it actually has been lowered and widened. Thankfully, what hasn’t been changed is the Bentley’s the 6.75-liter 328 hp turbocharged V8 engine.
The car is set for bidding at the RM Auction next Thursday (October 29). If this Frankenbentley seems like something you’re interested in, then have about 20,000 to 25,000 pounds ready (about $31,000 to $39,000). But before bidding we suggest you get your eyes checked.
The Bentley Blower was a development of the 3 liter model produced in the 1920s. The 4.5 liter model was produced as a performance road car and a possible contender for endurance racing . The Blower proved highly reliable on the track and nearly took victory at the 1928 and 29 Lemans. In 1929 Bentley dropped the 4.5 liter engine and opted to race the more reliable Speed 6. At this time Tim Birkin saw the potential in the smaller displacement car and modified the 4.5 liter for the 1929-30 race season. Three ’Birkin Blowers’ competed against the Bentley Speed Sixes at the 1930 Lemans. The 4.5 blower was surpassed by the Speed 6 that went on to win the 1930 Lemans with a 72 mile lead.