Bentley, classic cars, historic vehicles, Motoring News, sport cars, vehicle restoration

Blowing new life into a classic Bentley

  • Artisans deliver exquisite hand-crafted components
  • Continuation Series first new Blower in 90 years
  • Assembly starts on Bentley Blower

CREWE, England – The first wood-framed Bentley Blower in more than 90 years is under construction in a British Bentley Mulliner workshop as the ”car zero” prototype for a run of a dozen Blower ‘Continuation Series’.

Each will be meticulously engineered to create hand-crafted, supercharged, 4½–litre Bentleys built to the unique design of Bentley’s own 1929 Team Car developed and raced by Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin.The fleet will become the world’s first continuation series for a pre-war car… but there IS bad news. They’re all pre-sold.

MODERN MASTERPIECE: One of the engines destined for a new Bentley Blower.

The first parts to reach the workshjop were some of the most important. First was the chassis – the skeleton to which almost everything will be attached. The fuel tank and radiator were next after the ash (wood) frame for the body was completed.

HARD WORK AHEAD

The first pair of headlights then arrived as the mechanical aspects of ”car zero” started to come together: the first engine (complete with a re-made Amherst Villiers supercharger), the front axle assembly, and the leaf springs.

The engineering team will now (August 2020) be working hard to assemble the running prototype in time for its unveiling ahead of a development programme later 2020.

The #2 Team Car (owned by Bentley and probably the world’s most valuable Bentley) was dismantled piece-by-piece for the frame to be laser-scanned so accurate new parts could be ordered using a combination of digital data and the original 1920’s engineering drawings.

Bentley Mulliner’s Tim Hannig told The Corner in a media release: “It’s extremely rewarding, after almost a year of detailed engineering work, to see the parts coming together to form the first Bentley Blower in more than nine decades.

Image: Bentley

”The skill of our engineers and technicians in meeting hundreds of individual parts specifications was equalled only by that of the artisans across the country who hand-made the components we are now bolting together.

”We’re refining designs and fixing problems as we go – it’s 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.”

Draftsmen meet craftsmen – A team of artisan suppliers

From the start, Bentley Mulliner sought the very best specialists across the country to create components for the Blower Continuation Series using traditional techniques passed down through generations.

Image: Bentley

Leaf springs and shackles have been fabricated to original specifications by Jones Springs Ltd, a specialist with nearly 75 years’ experience and a history that started in a blacksmith’s forge.

The Blower’s iconic headlights have been re-born by Vintage Headlamp Restoration International in Sheffield (England) – a father-and-son team world-renowned for their silversmithing and ability to create vintage-design headlights from original specifications.

READ MORE Bentley features on Carman’s Corner

Meanwhile, in the Mulliner Trim Shop in Crewe, the ash frame created by Lomax Coachbuilders is going through the final stages of carpentry by Mulliner’s team of experts, before hand-trimming starts.

THE FINAL STEPS

THROUGH COMING WEEKS more and more components for Car Zero will be completed and test-fitted. The engine and supercharger will be put through their paces on Bentley’s engine development test beds in Crewe, and period-specific paint will be applied to the chassis before final assembly.

The finished Car Zero is scheduled to make its first public appearance in the European autumn – but only after being shown to the 12 customers…

MASTERPIECE IN TIMBER: Image: Bentley
HAND-MADE CHASSIS: Image: Bentley

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