The mighty 'Team Blower' will race again.
Classic cars have become so valuable lately, there is now an entire sub-section of the market dedicated to taking iconic models and reimagining them for the 21st century. This cottage industry has taken off so much in recent years that even the manufacturers want in on the action. Jaguar and Aston Martin have each rebuilt historic models from their past and last year, Bentley announced it would do the same with its most iconic model.
James Bond may drive an Aston Martin now but if you read the original story, he actually drove a supercharged Bentley. The UK automaker has begun work to create a 12-car continuation series of the 1929 Bentley 4½-litre "Team Blower," each of which will be an exact mechanical replica of the car built and raced by Sir Tim Birkin and is likely the most valuable Bentley in the world right now.
Bentley Mulliner's Classic division, who recently finished restoring a 1939 Bentley Corniche, will work with a team of vintage specialists to build the continuations cars. All 12 of the cars have already been pre-sold and work has begun to build Car Zero, which will be Bentley's engineering prototype. To build these cars, Bentley had to completely disassemble the original car and recreate it digitally using laser scanning and hand measurements.
Bentley then put together a CAD model, which is comprised of 630 components across 70 assemblies that takes up more than two gigabytes of data. It has taken Bentley's two CAD engineers more than 1,200 man-hours to create the file while working from home during the Covid-19 crisis. This is the first time a complete digital model for a 1920s Bentley has ever existed.
Only four original 'Team Blowers' were ever built for racing in the 1920s. After it is finished being scanned, the original car will be put back together and lovingly restored. The 90-year old car is still used at events like the 2019 Mille Miglia and the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The 12 continuation cars will each be powered by the same 4.5-liter four-cylinder, 16-valve engine with an aluminum crankcase and Amherst Villiers Mk IV roots-type supercharger producing 240 horsepower.
You may recognize the headlight design of the 'Team Blower' from the Bentley Mulsanne, which was inspired by this car and will soon exit production. The Flying Spur will take over as the flagship in Bentley's lineup but these continuation cars will be the UK automaker's true crown jewels.