Bentley Turns to Technology to Recreate Rare Race Car

The luxury automaker will use a 3D scanner to help build 12 new 1929 "Blower" Bentleys.

If you look at the fastest cars in the world today, it’s hard to imagine that, 90 years ago, race cars looked like this.

The 4 ½-liter supercharged “Blower Bentley” competed in the LeMans race and is considered to be one of the rarest and most valuable Bentley models in the world. Feeding off the nostalgia of this massive, two-ton race car, Bentley has announced that it will be producing 12 replicas of the “Team Blower” with a little help from some modern technology.

Bentley will reportedly disassemble one of its Team Blowers and use a 3D scanner to identify and catalog each part, creating a digital model. According to a press release, Bentley will then enlist specialists from its bespoking and coachwork division, Mulliner, to handcraft each individual pre-war race car.

Bentley says only four of these Team Blowers were built in the late 1920s, at the behest of Sir Tim Birkin, one of the “Bentley Boys” who helped propel Bentley to racing supremacy throughout that decade. Today, in an effort that aligns with Bentley’s 100th anniversary, the 1929 Team Blower “will be the master example for 12 continuations -- one for each race that the original fleet of four Team Blowers competed in.”

Bentley’s Mulliner team will use the original 1920s molds and tooling jigs to create the 12 separate sets of parts before the Blowers are assembled, with each continuation being as identical as possible to the original, with changes being made minimally and only to address safety concerns. The four-cylinder engines will feature an aluminum crankcase with cast iron cylinder liners and a non-detachable cast-iron cylinder head, and the car’s body will be made up of a pressed steel frame.

It will take the team two years to complete the series of 12 cars, a painstaking timeframe that will surely be reflected in the price -- a sum Bentley will only reveal to individual buyers “upon application.”

— Anna Wells

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