15 December 2013
Feature

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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Comments
12

15 December 2013
Drinking and driving?..just kidding,what a great car.

Peter Cavellini.

15 December 2013
Stunning car. Such a shame that London is so busy that you can't enjoy driving through with such a beast.

15 December 2013
Great video and a fascinating story. Sad to realise that such a journey/challenge is probably no longer possible, not because the cars aren't available now to do so, but that the trans-European train services have been cut back so much, largely because of the EU bureaucrats' meddling by increasing fees and charges for such routes by the train companies. A wonderful car that must be a bit of a nightmare to drive in today's London traffic, but it would be great on a long trans-European journey. Good to see Jack Barclay are happy and willing to promote the old cars and take part in the video, thanks Autocar for giving us all an early Christmas treat.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

16 December 2013
Please can we avoid anti EU harrumphs. Trains from Calais to the Mediterranean coast are literally twice as fast as they were pre-war.

15 December 2013
Wonderful machine,matte paint isn't a new thing at all! Probably does about 8 mpg so must have a vast tank,a wonderful era no doubt,and if MNO I would certainly consider a new GT V8 !

Madmac

15 December 2013
I noticed (3:34) that the door of 10A was one of those steel reinforced looks like wood that are getting more common in London. All cars of that era had low rounded top seats, because you need to use your shoulder/ upper body muscles to turn the wheel at low speed.Interesting single rear seat. Did it have a chrome shot glass holder on the dash, a great 1930s item. A great car.

RogerHudson

15 December 2013
...or better said: it is the one called "blue train", but Barnato actually raced the blue train and won the bet on another 6-litre, with a much more classic shaped body. Still a nice video and an astonishing car, but pity that Bentley (so keen to shout about its history) didn't really check the real facts before shooting the video.....

V

15 December 2013
Stunning Car.

15 December 2013
Actually the body is not metal painted with matte paint. It's a fabric body (for lightness) apart from bits like the mudguards and the engine cover, which are metal painted with gloss. Weymann was based in Paris and his system of body construction was patented. Gurney Nutting were a licensee.

16 December 2013
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.

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