The Blower Bentley returns

If you’re fascinated by the history of both motoring and motorsport, especially when it involves British heritage, you know all about the Bentley Boys and the cars they drove, some of which demolished the field at Le Mans with locomotive-like relentlessness. Bentley, which has thrown itself a 100th birthday party that’s the class of the automotive world, has finally done the ultimate recreation of its sporting DNA by unveiling Car Zero, the first Blower Bentley produced at Crewe in 90 years, a Continuation Series automobile created, in part, by creating a laser-scanned 3D model of the supercharged 1929 4 1/2-liter Bentley that was raced by Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin, one of the original Bentley Boys. Using computer-aided design technology and 40,000 hours of intensive work, Bentley created 1,846 parts, using original items or factory blueprints for patterning, that went into assembly of each continuation Blower Bentley.

The re-created car is the one in the foreground. Wherever possible, it was assembled using traditional methods to assemble and finish the new-old components. The chassis is an exact replica in hand-formed, hot-riveted heavy-gauge sheet steel constructed by Israel Newton & Sons Ltd. of Derby, which ordinarily creates boilers for locomotives and steam traction engines. Similar artisanship was provided by the Vintage Car Radiator Company of Bicester, which individually crafted the polished nickel radiator shell and the hand-beaten, steel-and-copper fuel tank. The body was fabricated by Mulliner on an ash frame assembled by Lomax Coachbuilders, wrapped in Rexine, a synthentic leather. The seats are correctly stuffed with 10 kilograms of natural horsehair each. Just a dozen of these cars will be produced, and we regret to disclose that every one has already found a buyer.

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