Preview image and video shows Continental GT with painted racing number, marking 100 years since the firm's formation
24 January 2019

Bentley will unveil a special edition centenary model inspired by a historic racing car at March's Geneva motor show.

Shown in a preview video and image released by the British maker, the special edition model appears to be based on the Continental GT coupe.

It features a large white number 9 painted across a black grille, harking back to the firm's iconic 1930 4 1/2 Litre 'Blower' Bentley 24 Hours of Le Mans racing car. The video, showing that car in action in historic footage, confirms the theory. 

The special edition car is expected to feature a number of racing-inspired details further to this, but they have yet to be revealed.  Expect it to be powered by the 6.0-litre W12 engine, with the potential for a power increase and suspension revisions to reflect its racing pedigree. 

The No.9 Bentley 'Blower' was powered by a supercharged 4.4-litre inline-four engine and enjoyed relatively little racing success. It's famous, however, for being the favoured Bentley of legendary racer Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin. Birkin achieved the fastest lap of the 1930 race by passing a rival Mercedes on the grass at speeds over 125mph, before the rear tyre blew and Birkin was forced to retire.  

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28 January 2019

I think No. 9 came in second at the 1929 Le Mans, and at the 1930 Le Mans, fitted with a supercharged engine, it threw a conrod after 20 hours (nothing to do with the rear tyre).  Odd that the people at Bentley appear to know little about their company's racing heritage...  Indeed, if the 2019 car is 'blower inspired', they seem to have taken little note of WO's dislike of these cars.  Mr Hallmark, please buy your marketing numpties a couple of books on Bentley.

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