Bentley has begun work on its Blower Continuation Series—a run of 12 hand-built four-and-a-half-liter icons, as raced to victory by Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin at the 1929 Le Mans.
Continuation cars such as the Aston Martin DB4 GT and Zagato, the Goldfinger DB5, Jaguar XSS, D-Type, and lightweight E-Type are proving to be a cash cow for car makers, but Bentley is the first dig out its pre-war blueprints.
The Blower Continuations will all be assembled in the Bentley Mulliner workshop, with parts crafted in-house, and by a range of artisan suppliers. The heavy-gauge steel chassis is hand-formed and hot-riveted by Israel Newton & Sons Ltd, a 200-year-old firm that makes boilers for steam engines. The nickel-plated radiator shell and hand-beaten, steel-and-copper fuel tank are by The Vintage Radiator Company. The car’s leaf springs are made by 75-year veteran Jones Springs Ltd, and the headlamps are remade by a father-and-son team at Vintage Headlamp Restoration International Ltd.
The engine, which was originally designed by W.O. Bentley, has been recreated with the aid of specialists NDR Ltd and features aluminum pistons, an overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder, and twin spark ignition. Its Amherst Villiers roots supercharger has been painstakingly recreated and will blow the inline four to over 240 hp.
An ash frame by Lomax Coachbuilders will be clothed in aluminum by Bentley Mulliner’s own craftsmen and the first prototype, Car Zero, is due to be unveiled in the fall.
The dozen collectors’ items have all been presold at almost $2 million apiece, and represent the first pre-war continuation cars from any auto manufacturer. Whatever will be next in the continuation craze?