Bentley announces Speed Six Continuation Series

Following the brand’s hugely successful Blower Continuation Series, 12 new Bentley Speed Six models will be handcrafted by Mulliner.

The cars are identical recreations of the 1929 and 1930 Le Mans winning cars, with a 6½ litre straight six engine, 200 bhp, 125 mph top speed and £1.5m price tag.

Mulliner, Bentley’s bespoke division and the oldest coachbuilder in the world are again creating a very special continuation series, bringing the roaring Speed Sixes of 1929-1930 back to life. 12 hand built cars will be created to mechanically and aesthetically mirror the iconic Le Mans winning cars of 1929/1930.

Honouring the achievements of the original cars and while continuing to develop and preserve Mulliner’s heritage skills, the new Speed Sixes will become the second pre-war continuation project in the world after the Blower Bentley project Mulliner tackled in recent years.

The most successful Bentley racing car of its era, the Speed Six is regarded as one of the most important Bentleys in history, not only further demonstrating the marque’s world-beating performance credentials but also proving the concept of the Grand Tourer – a fast car that remained comfortable and luxurious, and capable of covering huge distances with ease. Every Bentley since has followed the same ethos.

The 12-car series has been designed, and will be developed and built, by the same team of Mulliner specialists that have created the Blower Continuation Series – the first pre-war continuation project in the world. This acclaimed run of 12 new 4½ litre ‘Blower’ Bentleys was based on the company’s own 1929 Team Car #2 – the most famous and valuable Bentley in the world, which raced alongside the Speed Six in 1930 – and sold out instantly. The same is true of the new Speed Six continuations, with all 12 cars already reserved by lucky customers around the world.

Speaking at the Goodwood festival of speed, Bentley CEO, Adrian Hallmark, was proud to offer the next continuation series to the world and help preserve Mulliner’s strong heritage of handcrafted cars in the modern era.

“It’s vital that we protect, preserve and develop not just this important part of our heritage, but also the knowledge we’ve gained through working with these classic Bentleys. The Speed Six is one of the most important Bentleys in our 103 year history, and the 12 cars of the Continuation Series will embody the same values as W.O. Bentley’s originals, crafted by hand with the same meticulous attention both to engineering quality and to fanatical attention to detail. The lucky owners will be able to race their cars around the world, and truly relive the exploits of the original Bentley Boys.”

To deliver 12 new Speed Sixes that are authentic to the design of the racers of 1929 and 1930, the Mulliner team has first created a complete 3D CAD model of the car, from both the original blueprints and detailed analysis of original cars. Two of the remaining original Speed Sixes have been referenced for this process.

The first new Speed Six in 92 years will be assembled in the second half of this year, and become the engineering test and development car for the project. Speed Six Car Zero will be retained by Bentley, joining Blower Car Zero as the forebears of the families they help to deliver.

Two wins at Le Mans in 1929 and 1930 cemented the Speed Six’s place in Bentley history, with the 1929 victory setting a new benchmark for dominance at the race. Driven by Woolf Barnato and Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin, a Speed Six led from the first lap until the chequered flag, followed by a procession of three other Bentleys.

A new lap record of 7:21 had been set by Birkin, taking 46 seconds off the previous best and requiring an average speed of 83 mph, and in covering 2,844 km a distance record was also attained. Such a dominant performance by one manufacturer was not seen again at Le Mans for nearly 30 years.

Needless to say the 12 continuation cars will be prized by collectors the world over, and the £1.5m price tag reflects both the exclusivity of the series as well as the intricate craftsmanship that will go in the making of each car. All 12 cars currently have been reserved. 

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