The iconic recreations move a step closer to reality.
The Bentley Mulliner Blower Continuation Series has moved a step closer to becoming a reality after the first completed engine for the project was fired up for the first time on a dedicated and specially-prepared testbed at Bentley’s Crewe factory.
Only 12 newly-built Blower Continuation Series recreations will be made, based on the famed racers of the 1920s. Each has already been sold ahead of completion to customers all over the world.
The first completed engine will go into 'car zero', the engineering prototype for the project. While the engine was being built, Bentely engineers began preparing one of the factory's pre-war engine test beds. The testbeds have been around since the Crewe plant was built 1938, and were originally used benchmark Spitfire and Hurricane fighter plane engines.
To prepare the testbeds, a replica Blower front chassis was added to cradle the engine, which was then mounted to the computer-controlled engine dyno.
The completed engines are exact recreations of the engines that powered Tim Birkin’s four Team Blowers that raced in the late 1920s. They even use a magnesium crankcase like the original.
It originally began life as a naturally aspirated 4½-litre engine, making use of all of the latest engine technology of the period, including a single overhead camshaft, twin-spark ignition, four valves per cylinder, and aluminium pistons.
In racing trim the engine produced 130 bhp, but Birkin decided to supercharge the engines – something that WO Bentley wasn't in favour of. Birkin commissioned supercharger specialist Amherst Villiers to develop a Roots-type supercharger, known as a 'blower'. Once fitted, the engine produced a mighty 240 bhp.
The Blower Bentleys soon became legendary, helping the naturally aspirated Bentleys win at Le Mans in 1930, but the blowers actually never won during their 12-race competition history.