Continuation cars have become a more commonplace practice as modern technology allows companies to recreate the past with impressive precision. Yet, we've never seen something as ambitious as what Bentley is setting out to do.
The British luxury brand said on Sunday it will create a continuation series 1929 Bentley Blower race cars -- the first time any company has reproduced a prewar race car. It seems like an unfathomable thing to do, but apparently, Bentley still has the original molds and tooling jigs for the iconic race car of the early 20th century.
For those not in know, the Blower cars laid the groundwork for Bentley's motorsport domination in the late 1920s and early 1930s. While the Blower didn't outright win at the car's entry in the 1930 24 Hours of Le Mans, it did help Bentley secure victory with a team of Speed Six race cars. Nevertheless, the race car has achieved iconic status among fans.
Of the four Blowers produced, Bentley owns one of them. The process will see its car stripped of every panel, nut, bolt and part before a 3D scanner immortalizes each component in the digital realm. From there, engineers and the Mulliner division will build 12 sets of parts to create 12 "new" Bentley Blowers. Manufacturing will involve both hand tools and modern assembly methods.
The luxury marque underscored that each car will be absolutely identical to the original car in every way possible, aside from areas dictated by modern safety regulations. At their core, four-cylinder 16-valve engines will sit under the hood with an aluminum crankcase, cast-iron cylinder liners and a cast-iron cylinder head. The engine will displace the rounded-up 4.5 liters (it's actually 4.4 liters, to be technical) and make 240 horsepower. Perhaps the slickest part of the rebuilds will be an exact replica of the Amherst Villiers roots-type supercharger that provides the boost. The supercharger turned Bentley's thinking upside down about displacement for its race cars decades ago.
Other technical details include a pressed-steel frame, a leaf spring suspension with copy of the original Bentley & Draper dampers and recreated mechanical drum brakes measuring 17.75 inches.
Bentley's Mulliner division said it will take two years to build all 12 cars, and no, there isn't a set price tag. Like at a fancy restaurant without the prices printed, you know if you can afford it or not.