BENTLEY'S legendary Blower - possibly the most famous pre-War racing car - has gone digital in a move that paves the way for a limited run of continuation models.
A computer aided design model of the classic car has been created by Bentley's Mulliner Classic division which will serve as the master design and engineering reference for the new cars.
Announced last year, the Blower Continuation Series is a run of twelve new Bentley Blowers, each of which will be an exact mechanical copy of the 1929 Team Blower built and raced by Sir Tim Birkin, and now likely the most valuable Bentley in the world.
The continuation cars are being produced by a specialist Mulliner team who cut their teeth on the recently restored 1939 Bentley Corniche and who are now working with vintage specialists to re-engineer and build the suite of parts needed to bring the new series of cars to life.
All twelve of the new cars are already sold to keen collectors around the world, and the first stages of build for the Bentley's own engineering prototype - Car Zero - will begin soon.
Bentley's Team Blower has been carefully dismantled and then re-created in the digital world through a combination of precision laser-scanning and intricate hand measurement.
The finished CAD model is comprised of 630 components across 70 assemblies, and is more than 2GB in size.
From start to finish it has taken 1,200 man-hours for two dedicated CAD engineers to complete the model from the scan data and measurements, and the result is that an accurate and complete digital model for a 1920s Bentley now exists for the very first time.
The engineers have been able to complete the model while working remotely during the coronavirus crisis.
Apart from the process of assisting the development of parts design and development, the CAD model has also been able to assist with the specification of individual customers' cars, with Bentley's design team able to create accurate full-colour renders from the data.
While the continuation series cars will be mechanically identical to the Team Blower, customers are now in the process of choosing their own exterior and interior colours palettes and materials so that the cars are visually distinctive from their predecessor.
Only four original ‘Team Blowers' were built for racing by Birkin, in the late 1920s. All were campaigned on the racetracks of Europe, with the most famous car - Birkin's own Team Car No. 2, registration UU 5872 - racing at Le Mans and playing a pivotal role in the factory Bentley Speed Six victory in 1930.
It is this car, now Bentley's own Team Blower - chassis number HB 3403 - that is the master example for the Continuation Series. Using the original 1920s moulds and tooling jigs, and an array of traditional hand tools alongside the latest manufacturing technology, 12 sets of parts are being created, before Bentley Mulliner's technicians assemble the new Blowers.
Bentley's original Team Car will then be reassembled, with the heritage team taking the opportunity to complete a detailed inspection with a sympathetic and conservative mechanical restoration where required to return the car to its original 1929 specification.
The 90-year old car is still used regularly on the road, including completion of the 2019 Mille Miglia, hill runs at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and a recent tour up the California coastline including a parade at Laguna Seca and culminating in the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where the car appeared with two of the other three Team Blowers.