We aren't sure who exactly started the continuation car idea.
Maybe it was Shelby building more Cobras after the fact? Maybe it was Caterham building 7s when Lotus said no more? What we do know is that it's expanded to ever more automakers, with Jaguar and Aston Martin both building new-old cars in the last few years. The latest is a Bentley that's really making us hope we'll see one on the road sooner rather than never. It's a run of brand-new 1929 Blower Bentleys.
The Blower Bentley, more properly known as the 4 1/2-litre Bentley, is one of the company's most iconic cars
. W.O. Bentley's solution to increasing horsepower was displacement. First 3-litres, then 4 1/2, then later even 6 1/2. But Bentley Boy and racing driver Sir Tim Birkin wanted something different. Something quicker.
He talked to Bentley Chair (and soon to be three-time Le Mans winner) Woolf Barnato into fixing a then-new invention to the 4 1/2-litre engine. A Roots-type supercharger that could boost the car's power from 130 hp to a whopping 240.
55 of them were built, five intended for competition. While Bentley himself didn't approve, the cars were fast. Though not overly durable.
Today, Bentley's specialist team at Mulliner will be recreating those iconic models. Using the company's 1929 model, chassis HB 3403, as a base. That car will be completely disassembled, with each part catalogued and then 3D-scanned. Making a complete digital model of the car.
Using those models, along with not just original drawings but also original 1920s tooling and moulds, the company will create 12 new sets of parts.
Enough for 12 complete cars to be built. Then the original car, which still sees duty on displays and historic rallies, will get a "sympathetic restoration" to help keep it alive and on tour.
Like the originals, each will have a four-cylinder, 16-valve engine. An aluminum crankcase with iron cylinder liners and a non-detachable iron head keep combustion inside where it's supposed to be. The cars use a pressed steel frame with copies of the original Bentley & Draper dampers controlling the leaf spring suspension.
Mulliner says it will take about two years to complete the 12 cars. They aren't listing prices, but we'd bet the 12 are probably already sold.