THE FIRST NEW BENTLEY BLOWER FOR 90 YEARS
The Blower Continuation Series ‘Car Zero’ is the Bentley Mulliner crafted vehicle based on the 1930’s Blower, and is the world’s first example of a pre-war continuation series.
This highly exclusive run of 12 customer cars – all pre-sold - are crafted from the design drawings and tooling jigs used for the original four Blowers built and raced by Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin in the late 1920s. Specifically, Bentley’s own Team Car (Chassis HB 3403, engine SM 3902, registration UU 5872 - Team Car #2) has provided the master model for the Continuation Series, with every single component laser-scanned as part of a wheels-up, sympathetic restoration.
The Blower Continuation Series is the first customer-facing project delivered by the new Bentley Mulliner Classic portfolio, one of three new divisions of Mulliner alongside Coachbuilt (currently developing the equally-exclusive Bacalar) and Collections (responsible for the Continental GT Mulliner.
Created over the course of 40,000 hours of work, the project stared with an extensive analysis of the original design drawings and drafts that were referenced in the creation of the original Blower Team Cars, together with archived period photographs of the cars. Following a piece-by-piece disassembly of the #2 Team Car owned by Bentley (likely the most valuable Bentley in the world) and an exceptionally precise laser scanning of the frame and its components, a complete digital CAD model of the Blower was created.
From there, in a manner befitting such a project, a team of artisan specialists from around the country were recruited to start manufacturing the components using traditional techniques passed down through generations.
The chassis has been created in heavy-gauge steel, hand-formed and hot riveted by the specialists at Israel Newton & Sons Ltd. This 200-year old company, based near Derby, traditionally makes boilers for steam locomotives and traction engines, and as such has the skills to forge and shape metal in a traditional way.
The Vintage Car Radiator Company, based at Bicester Heritage, has crafted exact recreations of some of the Blower’s key components – including the mirror-polished, solid nickel silver radiator shell and the hand-beaten fuel tank formed in steel and copper.
Leaf springs and shackles have been made to original specifications by Jones Springs Ltd, a specialist in the West Midlands with nearly 75 years of experience and a history that started in a blacksmith’s forge.
The Blower’s iconic headlamps have been reborn by Vintage Headlamp Restoration International Ltd in Sheffield. This father and son team is world-renowned for their silversmithing and ability to create vintage-design headlamps from original specifications.
Meanwhile, in the bespoke Mulliner Trim Shop in Crewe, a new ash frame created by Lomax Coachbuilders (based in Ludlow) underwent final stages of carpentry with Mulliner’s team of experts, including the application of 25 meters of highly specialised Rexine material used to wrap the body. Hand-trimming of the body was then completed by Mulliner’s master craftsmen. For Car Zero, the gloss black bodywork is paired with Oxblood red Bridge of Weir leather and matching trim. As per the originals, the seats are stuffed with a total of 10 kilograms of natural horsehair.
The Car Zero’s brand new 4½-litre engine, originally designed by W.O Bentley himself, has been created with the expert support of specialists including NDR Ltd in Watford. Featuring many innovations of which a sports car engine of the 1970s would be proud – aluminium pistons, an overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder and twin spark ignition – the renowned 4½-litre engine has been paired with a newly machined Amherst Villiers roots-type supercharger. The newly created Blower engine is an exact recreation of the engines that powered Tim Birkin’s four Team Blowers that raced in the late 1920s – including the use of magnesium for the crankcase.