Bentley loyalists are in for a treat: in honour of the marque’s 100th anniversary—yes, centenary celebrations are still in full swing—the British marque has just announced the Bentley 4.5-litre Supercharged Tourer, also known as the Bentley Blower, is going back into production. For a limited run, at least.
Bentley claims this is the first time a luxury marque has attempted to reproduce a prewar race car. And if that’s not impressive enough, Bentley intends to build 12 of the iconic automobiles using 3D printers.
The ambitious undertaking involves a tonne of reverse engineering: basically, the technicians at Mulliner will take apart a 1929 Bentley Blower—chassis number HB 3402—and painstakingly scan every last nut and bolt. From these scans, 3D models will be built and used to form the foundation of the new cars. Bentley will then use the original molds and tooling jigs from the ‘20s, along with some modern manufacturing methods, to create 12 identical-to-the-original sets of parts and, voilà, you have a dozen new Blowers.
But the best part of the rebuild actually resides beneath the hood: Each Blower will feature an exact replica of the Amherst Villiers Mk IV roots-type supercharger to deliver that quintessential grunt. In addition, the next-generation Blowers will sport 16-valve four-cylinder engines with aluminum crankcases, cast-iron cylinder liners and non-detachable cast-iron cylinder heads. For the most part, they’re exactly like the original, with a few tweaks to appease modern safety regulations.
Though W.O. Bentley initially scorned the race car, believing that the addition of the supercharger (aka a “blower”) would “pervert its design and corrupt its performance”,the Blower dominated motorsport during the ‘20s and ‘30s and established itself as a fan favourite. Only four of the beloved 1929 Blowers were originally built and competed in a total of 12 races, hence Bentley’s decision to re-create just a dozen.
Bentley anticipates the whole process will take two years to complete. Once the re-creations are up and running, the technicians will reassemble the original Blower which still appears at events, like Pebble Beach Concours and the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Because of the exclusivity, Bentley has instated an application process to vet potential buyers, and only then will the marque reveal the price. To give you a ballpark figure, a 1931 Blower recently went to auction with an estimate of around £2 million to £2.65 million.
Check out more images of the 1929 Bentley Blower below: