Automotive

Bentley starts assembling its prototype reverse-engineered 1929 Blower

Bentley starts assembling its ...
The 1929 Bentley Blower: that supercharger on the front represents one very stubborn man's vision for racing Bentleys of the late 1920s
The 1929 Bentley Blower: that supercharger on the front represents one very stubborn man's vision for racing Bentleys of the late 1920s
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Left: the original frame. Right: the new ash body
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Left: the original frame. Right: the new ash body
"Leaf springs and shackles have been made to original specifications by Jones Springs Ltd, a specialist with nearly 75 years of experience and a history that started in a blacksmith’s forge."
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"Leaf springs and shackles have been made to original specifications by Jones Springs Ltd, a specialist with nearly 75 years of experience and a history that started in a blacksmith’s forge."
Recreation linkages
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Recreation linkages
Bentley worked from original blueprints, as well as 3D laser scanning components
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Bentley worked from original blueprints, as well as 3D laser scanning components
"In the bespoke Mulliner Trim Shop in Crewe, a new ash frame created by Lomax Coachbuilders is going through the final stages of carpentry by Mulliner’s team of experts, before hand-trimming starts through Mulliner’s master craftsmen."
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"In the bespoke Mulliner Trim Shop in Crewe, a new ash frame created by Lomax Coachbuilders is going through the final stages of carpentry by Mulliner’s team of experts, before hand-trimming starts through Mulliner’s master craftsmen."
The prototype's ash frame
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The prototype's ash frame
"The Blower’s iconic headlamps have been reborn by Vintage Headlamp Restoration International Ltd in Sheffield. This father and son team is world-renowned for their silversmithing and ability to create vintage-design headlamps from original specifications."
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"The Blower’s iconic headlamps have been reborn by Vintage Headlamp Restoration International Ltd in Sheffield. This father and son team is world-renowned for their silversmithing and ability to create vintage-design headlamps from original specifications."
"a newly machined, exact recreation of an Amherst Villiers roots-type supercharger."
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"a newly machined, exact recreation of an Amherst Villiers roots-type supercharger."
"The chassis has been created in heavy-gauge steel, hand-formed and hot riveted by the specialists at Israel Newton & Sons Ltd. This 200-year old company traditionally makes boilers for steam locomotives and traction engines, and as such has the skills to forge and shape metal in a traditional way."
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"The chassis has been created in heavy-gauge steel, hand-formed and hot riveted by the specialists at Israel Newton & Sons Ltd. This 200-year old company traditionally makes boilers for steam locomotives and traction engines, and as such has the skills to forge and shape metal in a traditional way."
The engine
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The engine
"The Vintage Car Radiator Company, based at Bicester Heritage, has crafted exact recreations of the some of the Blower’s key components – including the mirror-polished, nickel-plated radiator shell and the hand-beaten fuel tank (above) formed in steel and copper."
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"The Vintage Car Radiator Company, based at Bicester Heritage, has crafted exact recreations of the some of the Blower’s key components – including the mirror-polished, nickel-plated radiator shell and the hand-beaten fuel tank (above) formed in steel and copper."
"The new engine and supercharger will be put through their paces on Bentley’s very own engine development test beds in Crewe, while period-specific paint will be applied to the chassis before final assembly begins."
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"The new engine and supercharger will be put through their paces on Bentley’s very own engine development test beds in Crewe, while period-specific paint will be applied to the chassis before final assembly begins."
The radiator shell
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The radiator shell
"4½-litre engine, originally designed by W.O Bentley himself and now recreated by Bentley Mulliner with the expert support of specialists including NDR Ltd. Featuring many innovations of which a sports car engine of the 1970s would be proud – aluminium pistons, an overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder and twin spark ignition – the renowned 4½-litre engine will meet a newly machined, exact recreation of an Amherst Villiers roots-type supercharger. Mulliner’s experts will then be tuning the engine on a specially-prepared testbed at the Bentley factory in Crewe, where together the engine and supercharger should generate around 240 bhp."
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"4½-litre engine, originally designed by W.O Bentley himself and now recreated by Bentley Mulliner with the expert support of specialists including NDR Ltd. Featuring many innovations of which a sports car engine of the 1970s would be proud – aluminium pistons, an overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder and twin spark ignition – the renowned 4½-litre engine will meet a newly machined, exact recreation of an Amherst Villiers roots-type supercharger. Mulliner’s experts will then be tuning the engine on a specially-prepared testbed at the Bentley factory in Crewe, where together the engine and supercharger should generate around 240 bhp."
The 1929 Bentley Blower: that supercharger on the front represents one very stubborn man's vision for racing Bentleys of the late 1920s
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The 1929 Bentley Blower: that supercharger on the front represents one very stubborn man's vision for racing Bentleys of the late 1920s
View gallery - 15 images

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.

"4½-litre engine, originally designed by W.O Bentley himself and now recreated by Bentley Mulliner with the expert support of specialists including NDR Ltd. Featuring many innovations of which a sports car engine of the 1970s would be proud – aluminium pistons, an overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder and twin spark ignition – the renowned 4½-litre engine will meet a newly machined, exact recreation of an Amherst Villiers roots-type supercharger. Mulliner’s experts will then be tuning the engine on a specially-prepared testbed at the Bentley factory in Crewe, where together the engine and supercharger should generate around 240 bhp."
"4½-litre engine, originally designed by W.O Bentley himself and now recreated by Bentley Mulliner with the expert support of specialists including NDR Ltd. Featuring many innovations of which a sports car engine of the 1970s would be proud – aluminium pistons, an overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder and twin spark ignition – the renowned 4½-litre engine will meet a newly machined, exact recreation of an Amherst Villiers roots-type supercharger. Mulliner’s experts will then be tuning the engine on a specially-prepared testbed at the Bentley factory in Crewe, where together the engine and supercharger should generate around 240 bhp."

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."

The prototype's ash frame
The prototype's ash frame

Bentley plans to show the Blower prototype sometime in the fall.

Source: Bentley

View gallery - 15 images
7 comments
KaiserPingo
Crazy. Its never going to be an original !
WB
awesome car! a classic!
Username
I don't get it.
nick101
The only justification for building something as deeply silly as this, is to go race them full-out on a recreated 1929 course, and if they end up as crumpled wrecks so-be-it.
JustSaying
I'd understand if it was a kit car project for sell, other then that, what's the point?
Grunchy
I get it, they're making cars for sale because there's market demand to be satisfied.
Who Would Of Thought.
stuart05
I think people are misunderstanding this. It's for ludicrously rich people who have more money than sense and just want something unique to show off to the world, the ultimate oneupmanship. You will never run out of those super rich and their capacity for excessive toys who always want a larger yacht in Monaco or have a more pimped up RR than the sheik next door. And for Bentley it promotes themselves as the ultimate bespoke purveyor of the near impossible as they compete against RR or Mayback or indeed other providers of reciculous super rich toys planes, boats of whatever.