For the latest classic car news, features, buyer’s guides and classifieds, sign up to the C&SC newsletter here
The series was revealed today at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, each car priced from £1.5m.
These cars will be identical recreations of Bentley’s racers that triumphed at Le Mans in 1929 and 1930, and will be handcrafted by Mulliner.
This recreation process started with a 3D scan of Old Number 3, the third of three Bentley Speed Sixes to contest the 1930 edition of the Le Mans 24-hour enduro – not only did it finish, it is still road legal and raced today.
A second reference car, the 1929 Speed Six road car that’s part of the marque’s own heritage fleet, is being used to benchmark the performance and handling of the 12 continuation models.
Many of the components made for these cars won’t just look the same as those on the originals, they’ll be fabricated using the same methods employed a century ago.
Each of Bentley’s Speed Six Continuation models will be powered by a 200bhp, 6½-litre straight-six, giving the car a 125mph top speed – and the new owners will be able to race them around the world.
The original Speed Six cars became the marque’s most successful racers. Woolf Barnato and Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin drove one to victory at Le Mans in 1929, leading from start to finish and beating the previous lap record by 46 secs. An average speed of 83mph was achieved – not bad for 93 years ago.
In 1930 Barnato repeated this feat, on this occasion with Glen Kidston as his co-driver, and in second place was another Bentley Speed Six, piloted by Dick Watney and Frank Clement.
These new Speed Six cars come after the release of a dozen continuation Blowers, launched by Bentley in 2019, the marque’s centenary year – as with the latest additions, these first 12 sold out right away, too.
The Blowers were also built by Mulliner and this was the world’s first pre-war continuation project – the new Speed Six series will be the second.
The 12 Blowers were based on Bentley’s 1929 Team Car #2, which competed alongside the Speed Six.
And, as before, Mulliner will be supported by classic car specialists across the UK.
The first new Speed Six – Speed Six Car Zero – will be completed in the second half of 2022 and retained by Bentley to join its fleet, and also to serve as a development and test car for the remainder of this project.
“The Speed Six is one of the most important Bentleys in our 103-year history, and the 12 cars of the Continuation Series will embody the same values as WO Bentley’s originals, crafted by hand with the same meticulous attention both to engineering quality and to fanatical attention to detail,” said Adrian Hallmark, Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive.