Bentley starts assembling its prototype reverse-engineered 1929 Blower
The Bentley Blower Continuation Series is a bizarre project, so far removed from the lives of regular people that it does kind of take the breath away. The company has painstakingly disassembled one of its most iconic 1920s race cars, laser-3D-scanned and documented every last component down to the very bolts, and is recreating it in twelve "Continuation Series" replicas that will sell for utterly barmy money.
We've written before about what made the Blower such an important memory for Bentley despite the fact that it never won a race, but the fact is, the Mulliner division has now gone into the business of making brand new 1929-model supercharged race cars. Customers are given a ton of options, but this one amused us the most: do you want your floor panels pristine as they would've come out of the factory, or would sir like Bentley to build them with authentic depressions in the wood, where Sir Henry "Tim" Birkin's heels wore down the wood on the car they laser-scanned?
Now, some of the parts are starting to arrive, from the engine and supercharger, to the heavy-gauge steel chassis, the ash wood body, the hand-beaten fuel tank, the mirror-finish nickel-plated radiator, the leaf spring suspension and linkages, among other things. For any vintage car or mechanical enthusiast, they sure are pretty to look at, so hop into the gallery and scroll through for details.
Bentley will soon go into the process of assembling "Car Zero" – the engineering prototype of the Continuation Series Blowers. The team will bench-test the engine and supercharger, hopefully not blowing it up like Birkin did in its first race, and start putting it all together to see where improvements can be made.
"After almost a year of highly detailed engineering work, it is extremely rewarding to see the first parts coming together to form the first Bentley Blower in over 90 years," says Bentley Mulliner's Tim Hannig. "The skill of our engineers and technicians in completing hundreds of individual part specifications is equalled only by that of the artisans across the country that have handmade the components that we’re now starting to bolt together. As we go, we’re refining designs and fixing problems, which is exactly what a prototype build is for. We’re all really excited to get this first car finished, and to show it to the world later this year."
Bentley plans to show the Blower prototype sometime in the fall.