15 December 2013

In January 1930 Rover claimed its Light Six had gone faster than the Le Train Bleu, one of the world's most luxurious trains, which ran from Cannes in the south of France to Calais in the north.

One evening at dinner, Bentley Boy Woolf Barnato said that was nothing special, and he could race the Blue Train, reach Calais, cross the English Channel and reach the Conservative Club in London before the train arrived in Calais. He succeeded with four minutes to spare. Here, Steve Cropley retraces the Bentley Boys' London haunts in the very car in which Barnato made the journey.

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turbinecol 10 January 2014

Thank Steve

Steve, thanks for putting this together.
The Bentley looks absolutely superb. It has a real sense of occasion cruising in those London streets.
Bullfinch 16 December 2013

Er, no.

Not the very car. This car didn't even exist at the time of the race in which Barnato drove a regular H. J. Mulliner-bodied Bentley Speed Six against the Blue Train. This is the sort of error one expects from a newspaper but not I think in the specialist press. Does the reporter not know the history, or is the assumption here that the reader won't do so it doesn't really matter? It does matter and simply because Bentley has decided to bend the facts to suit its marketing needs is no excuse for the falsehood to be repeated in this way..
Flatus senex 16 December 2013

Not surprising

French trains of the period were limited to 120k.p.h. by a law of Napoleon III so it is not surprising that a supercar of the time driven by a ruthless, determined and skilful driver (Barnato was surely thus) could beat them. Getting a cross Channel ferry without losing time would also be a factor.