In the late 1920s, Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin created four original models of the Blower, a Bentley vehicle that would come to be known as a classic model of its time around a century later. Now, 90 years since the first model, Bentley Mulliner has finally created a piece that will continue the legacy of this iconic car.
The first prototype of the Blower Continuation Series’ ‘Car Zero’ was unveiled recently, a model that has been built upon the fundamentals left behind by its ancestor- Bentley Blower. The classic car made its appearance almost a century ago but was such a landmark that a revival of this antique example has automobile fanatics in high spirits. Designing and building teams at Bentley put thousands of hours of work to deliver the first test prototype which is supposed to serve as the foundation for the twelve saleable cars that have yet to be produced.
An acknowledgement of Sir Birkin and his pioneering drawings, Bentley Mulliner applied methods used to create the first original four models. Its Team Car also designed the new continuation model and laser-scanned parts for the most accurate yet contemporary restoration of this car. The new Blower Car Zero has new and specifically designed parts from the ground up. The test model will undergo rigorous driving and performance tests to ensure that the twelve customer cars roll off Bentley workshop in top-notch condition.
Taking up a project as big as this is quite a risky move, after all it carries the reputation and legacy of an already antiquated vehicle model; however, with the Car Zero it seems like the gamble paid off to Bentley’s advantage. For this particular creation, Bentley already had a starting point- they had to create a present day interpretation of a classic Bentley. Referencing old drawings of the Blower Team Cars, photographic records and a complete dismantling of the original number 2 Blower were just some of the steps that gave Bentley designers the inspiration to design their prototype.
Keeping the tradition alive, Bentley sought out artisans and craftsmen capable of hand-building each model, as was done in the olden days. Hand-created chassis from a 200 year old company, radiator shell and fuel tank from The Vintage Car Radiator Company and leaf springs from 75 year old Jones Springs Ltd- Bentley Mulliner sourced components from companies that not only have the expertise but also a long-standing heritage of craftsmanship, much like the Blower. Vintage Headlamp Restoration International Ltd has brought Blower’s unique headlamps to life, while Lomax Coachbuilders have teamed up with Mulliner Trim Shop to complete the body’s Rexine wrapping.
As for its performance, the new series model comes equipped with a W.O Bentley designed 4⅟₂ litre engine, featuring latest innovations to keep it up with today’s advanced technical equipment. Creating an engine based on an old design comes with its own set of challenges; Bentley created a separate test bed for this engine and also created new software for its testing. The Blower Continuation Series customer cars have yet to be built, before that the first Car Zero will have to ace a number of tests to quantify its strength, performance and durability. The new Continuation Series is a present-day construal of the legendary Blower Team Car, but it still successfully carries on the mark left behind by the pioneer- the ten kilograms of natural horsehair in its seats can very well attest to that.
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