You Finally Have a Chance to Own a 1929 Bentley Blower... Kind of
Bentley is building 12 of them and they will look just like the originalby Ciprian Florea, on
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.
12 Cars to celebrate 100 years of Bentley
The Blower series will be much more exclusive, with just 12 scheduled to exit the assembly line
Like most special edition launched in recent months, the Blower continuation series will celebrate Bentley’s 100th anniversary. The continuation series follows the success of the Blower-inspired Continental GT Number 9 Edition run, of which 100 were built. The Blower series will be much more exclusive, with just 12 scheduled to exit the assembly line. This is more than just a random number, as Bentley will build one new Blower for every race the original factory cars entered back in the day.
Only four of these original cars were raced, and they were known as Team Blowers. They were built by Sir Tim Birkin and were essentially a slightly lighter version of the Bentley 4 1/2 Litre road car. The Blower name was assigned to the supercharged version of the 4 1/2 Litre model, but not all race cars were actually supercharged. Birkin’s own car, featuring registration plate UU 5872, was raced at the 1930 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it played a key role in the victory scored by the Bentley Speed Six.
Combining old-school craftsmanship with digital technology
Bentley says that the continuation cars will be "identical wherever possible to the original
So how is Bentley planning to build these "modern" Blowers? Well, the British company still owns one of the four original Blowers, and it’s going to disassemble it to its individual components. Each part will be cataloged and then scanned in 3D, so Bentley will have a digital model of the entire car. However, Bentley will use the original molds and tooling jigs, as well as the traditional hand tool from the 1920s, so the continuation Blower will be somewhat of a classic and should have a period-specific vibe.
Bentley says that the continuation cars will be "identical wherever possible to the original — mechanically, aesthetically and spiritually — only minimal hidden changes dictated by modern safety concerns." All 12 cars will be designed and assembled by the skilled folks from the Mulliner division, which usually handles bespoke Bentley vehicles. The 12 cars will be completed in about two years, which means that each vehicle will need two months of extensive work.
The original Blower that Bentley will disassemble for this project will be put back together after the company’s heritage team will do a mild mechanical restoration and a full inspection of the components and the body.
The rebirth of an iconic
The Blower was designed with more speed and racing capability in mind
Bentley has built many iconic vehicles throughout its history, but no pre-war car is as famous as the Blower. Based on the 4 1/2-Litre luxury sports car, it was designed with more speed and racing capability in mind. While W. O. Bentley extracted more speed from the original car by increasing engine capacity from 3.0 liters to 4.5 and them to 6.5, Sir Tim Birkin was impressed by a Roots-type supercharger developed by British engineer Amherst Villiers. Birkin persuaded Bentley chairman Woolf Barnato to let him create a series of supercharged cars for both road and track use. Bentley built 55 Blowers, of which five were prepared for racing duty. The race-spec Blowers generated 240 horsepower, notably more than the standard car, rated at 130 horses.
The Blower failed to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a performance that its naturally aspirated sibling achieved in 1928, but it became famous as one of the fastest cars on the track in qualifying stages or until it had to retire due to poor reliability. The Blower was named the "fastest lorry in the world" by Ettore Bugatti, who was annoyed by the fact that his Type 35 race car almost lost the 1930 French Grand Prix to Bentley.
It will cost a fortune
Bentley has yet to announce pricing for the continuation series, but it won’t be cheap. Original 4 1/2-Liter models fetch in excess of $1.5 million nowadays, while Blower models are usually evaluated at more than $7 million. Given that Blowers rarely show up at auction events nowadays, Bentley will probably ask at least $3 million for one. It’s a steep price for the modern era, especially since you can buy 1,000-horsepower supercars for this sticker, but it’s an actual chance to own an original Blower, albeit built in 2020 or 2021. I’m pretty sure that the 12 models will sell out in no time.
Read our full review on the 1927 - 1931 Bentley Blower.