Only four supercharged 4½ Bentleys were built as works racers for Sir Henry Birkin’s semi-private race team, but they are about to be joined by 12 new examples of the company’s famous 1929 Blower.
Announced at the Salon Privé concours in September, the continuation cars will be assembled by the company’s Mulliner department in Crewe and will be based on Tim Birkin’s own team car, No2, better known by its registration number UU5872. That car is owned by Bentley, and it will be taken entirely apart by restoration specialists who will catalogue each part, then scan them into a 3D digital model. From there Bentley will combine new and traditional manufacturing techniques to build a dozen exact replicas.
It is a laborious, painstaking process and the Crewe firm is making much of the accuracy of its recreations, including the four-cylinder 16-valve engine complete with Villiers Roots supercharger.
Although the supercharged cars were not in fact very successful, Birkin’s charge in the 1930 Le Mans race paved the way for the Barnato/Kidston Speed Six win.
Incidentally, although the Union flag displayed prominently on the car’s right side may appear to be upside down – the symbol of distress – it is in fact correct for a flag notionally streaming backwards.
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