Currently reading: Bentley owners express concern over continuation Blower models
Classic car enthusiast group, including Ralph Lauren and Lord Bamford, write to Bentley claiming recreation of pre-war icon dilutes the appeal of originals
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3 mins read
21 April 2020

A group of high-profile Bentley owners and enthusiasts has written to the marque’s boss, Adrian Hallmark, to express concerns about plans to produce a series of 12 ‘continuation’ Bentley 4.5-litre ‘Blowers’ based on 3D scans of its own team car.

Bentley is far from the first company to produce such a series, with Aston Martin and Jaguar in particular having already embraced the concept to lucrative effect, and collectors have largely remained silent.

However, according to the letter, which is signed by such luminaries of the classic car world as Ralph Lauren, Lord Bamford, Evert Louwman and William E ‘Chip’ Connor, the run of Blower recreations would "dilute that special admiration and awe that can only come from viewing and embracing the genuine article". 

How Bentley is recreating its legendary 4.5-litre Blower

“Most marques are the guardians of their own history, caretakers of records, cars and legacy,” said signatory Simon Kidston, renowned classic specialist and nephew of 1920s 'Bentley Boy' Glen Kidston. “When a major manufacturer starts building ‘genuine recreations’ decades out of period, which blur the line between real and fake and arguably devalue the authentic cars that private owners have cherished and preserved since long before manufacturers took an interest, it feels as if the gamekeeper has turned poacher.”

The Blower project was born out of a decision to restore Bentley’s own team car, explained a spokesperson for Bentley, who said: “In parallel, to relieve the future strain on what is now a very old car, we decided to build a recreation for use in non-competitive and non-critical events, where the heritage is not crucial.

"This recreation would provide the basis for a genuine Birkin Team Blower experience without risking the integrity of the genuine car, which is arguably the most valuable Bentley in existence. 

“After much research and discussion with a number of the stakeholders – vintage Bentley owners, restorers, specialists and a selection of Bentley Drivers’ Club and Benjafield’s Racing Club members – we tested the idea of making an official Continuation Series and were overwhelmed with the positivity of the response.

"While we heard some similar concerns to those expressed in the letter, the vast majority of feedback was hugely supportive of the project. Hence we went ahead.” 

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The ex-Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin car has already been stripped and scanned, and computer modelling for the new cars, which will be built by Bentley Mulliner Classic at the Crewe works, has been completed remotely during the lockdown. This will form the main engineering reference for the build. All 12 production cars have already been sold, and construction will shortly begin on Car Zero, the engineering prototype.

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“While the Continuation Series cars will be mechanically identical to our Team Blower, they will not be the same colour or feature the same graphics and so will be instantly recognisable as continuation cars," said Bentley. “The original four Team Blowers are unique, extremely rare and exceptionally valuable, and each has its own incredible story; no new car or addition to the Bentley Blower family can change that.”

Alastair Clements 

Read more: 

Bentley to make new versions of pre-war Blower racer

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Comments
8

21 April 2020

Easy solution - all that needs to be done is for who've signed the letter buy a 'new' Blower and then destroy it, after all that's exactly how mother nature deals with protectionism.

Sometimes the level of self importance of people is breathtaking. Why should only those people enjoy these cars?

22 April 2020

My heart bleeds for them!

21 April 2020

Don't agree with them at all. If anything it reinforces the 'specialness' of the originals.  

 

21 April 2020

Anything that P's off Lord Bamford is something to be enjoyed!

 

He's tried to put many businesses out of business in the UK so stuff him.

 

21 April 2020

If only I was as old and rich as these guys that those were my only concerns, as opposed to pandemics and unemployment 

21 April 2020

 So, they've made new, old Blower Bentley cars, do they really think they'll devalue original ones?

21 April 2020
Nothing more or better, than just plain selfish.

21 April 2020

Meanwhile, Morris Marina Owner's club enthusiasts are literally up-in-arms at the thought that NO person is in a shed building a modern-take on a Marina

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