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In its centenary year, Bentley has revealed plans to build 12 new Blowers, meticulous recreations of Sir Tim Birkin’s 4½ Litre Team Blower.
This dazzling dozen will be the world’s first pre-war race car continuation series and each will be handmade by Mulliner, Bentley’s in-house department dealing with bespoke work and coachbuilding.
Of course, there were just four original ‘Team Blowers’ built for racing by Birkin, in the late ’20s, the most famous being Birkin’s own Team Car No 2, registration UU 5872.
It’s estimated that it will take two years to complete this 12-car series; prices are upon application.
In order to ensure that these are faithful recreations, Bentley’s own Team Blower – chassis number HB 3403 – will be taken apart, and each part will be catalogued and scanned, creating a 3D digital model of every component of the car.
The build process will combine 21st-century technology with original moulds, tooling jigs and hand tools from the 1920s.
The continuation models will be almost entirely identical to the original Blower, with a few hidden concessions to modern safety concerns.
And one benefit of dismantling the original is that it will be checked and can be restored, where needed.
Team Car No 2 was sympathetically restored in the 1960s with much of its patina preserved and has been owned by Bentley Motors since 2000, since when it’s received small cosmetic maintenance only.
“As we continue to commemorate 100 years of Bentley, we are combining a look to our past with the very latest digital technologies and techniques to create something truly extraordinary,” said Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Adrian Hallmark.
“The four Team Blowers are the most valuable Bentleys in the world, and we know there is demand for genuine recreations that can be used, enjoyed and loved without risk to the prized originals.
“The 12 new Blowers will not only be an homage to our heritage, they will be a celebration of the outstanding skills of our Mulliner craftspeople. This is a new challenge for Bentley, but with the incredible success of the recent restoration of our 1939 one-of-one Corniche, we wanted to go one step further and make something even more special. Twelve lucky customers will soon be able to own a unique tribute to Bentley’s history.”