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This 2021 Bentley Blower Prototype is a Perfect Recreation of a 90-Year-Old Legend


Bentley Motors recently released photos of its Car Zero prototype from its Blower Continuous Series, a 2021 recreation of a century-old post-war race car. The first of a series of 12 Bentley Blowers scheduled to be produced, all of which have been sold. Think of it as a remastered album to one of Bentley's greatest hits. A brand new 1920s Bentley Blower built to the exact specifications of the past using modern technology. This car is astounding!


To get a better perspective of why Bentley decided to clone this car requires a brief history lesson. You see, the Bentley Blower is a historically famous failure.




The story of Bentley Blower started in the 1920s when Sir Tim Birkin, a race car driver and team owner, wanted to get more speed out of his fleet of Bentley race cars. His idea was to add a supercharger, and Walter Owen Bentley was quick to advise against that since the engine, while faster, would be unstable and at a greater risk of failing. So, when the engineer who built the car you race tells you it is a bad idea, what do you do? Well, if you're Sir Tim Birkin, you ignore his advice and do it anyway! Birkin built four Bentley supercharged 4.5-liter engines.


They became known as the Bentley Blowers, and they were exceptionally fast. As W.O. Bentley predicted, the downside was the engines were prone to blowing up during a race. The Bentley Blower displayed some impressive speeds but never officially won a race, making it the most famous losing race car.




Fast forward to the present day, and Car Zero is the first completed prototype of the Bentley Blower continuation series. The task for building these 12 cars was assigned to Bentley's Milliner division and involved a painstaking process that involved dissembling an original Bentley Blower to laser scan each individual part and create a 3D model blueprint.


The recreation parts were manufactured using some of the period-correct molds, tooling jigs, and hand tools pulled out of storage from Bentley's archives. According to Bentley, designing and building Car Zero took an estimated 40,000 hours (about 4 and a half years) and handcrafting 1,857 individual parts based on the original design plans. Short of using a time machine, it does not come as close to the past as this.




The 4.5-liter engine uses the same specifications as 90 years ago with aluminum pistons, overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder, twin spark ignition, and magnesium crankcase. The supercharger tops off the entire package giving Car Zero an estimated 240 horsepower. Not bad for a new/old racehorse.


A team of artisans built the entire car, and Car Zero is only the beginning. Now that it runs, it needs to be tested. Bentley plans to run Car Zero through a durability test consisting of driving 5,000 miles (about twice the width of the United States) around a racetrack to simulate the equivalent of over 21,000 miles of real-world driving. The results from this test will be used in the construction of the next 12 Bentley Blowers.




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Photos: Bentley