Bentley Mulliner's Tim Hannig comments:
From the outset, Bentley Mulliner sought to engage the very best specialists across the country to create componentry for the Blower Continuation Series in a manner befitting such a project – using traditional techniques passed down through generations. With the very latest CAD technology finalising the exact designs to supplement the original engineering blueprints from the 1920s, work began at a multitude of small artisan businesses to bring the new Blower to life. The chassis has been created in heavy-gauge steel, hand-formed and hot riveted by the specialists at Israel Newton & Sons Ltd. This 200-year old company traditionally makes boilers for steam locomotives and traction engines, and as such has the skills to forge and shape metal in a traditional way. The Vintage Car Radiator Company, based at Bicester Heritage, has crafted exact recreations of the some of the Blower's key components – including the mirror-polished, nickel-plated radiator shell and the hand-beaten fuel tank formed in steel and copper. Market leaders in the manufacture and restoration of vintage car radiators and components to the highest possible standards of craftsmanship and authenticity, they were the perfect choice to handcraft these tricky and vital components. These parts will feed the first Blower's brand new 4½-litre engine, originally designed by W.O Bentley himself and now recreated by Bentley Mulliner with the expert support of specialists including NDR Ltd. Featuring many innovations of which a sports car engine of the 1970s would be proud – aluminium pistons, an overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder and twin spark ignition – the renowned 4½-litre engine will meet a newly machined, exact recreation of an Amherst Villiers roots-type supercharger. Mulliner's experts will then be tuning the engine on a specially-prepared testbed at the Bentley factory in Crewe, where together the engine and supercharger should generate around 240 bhp. Leaf springs and shackles have been made to original specifications by Jones Springs Ltd, a specialist with nearly 75 years of experience and a history that started in a blacksmith's forge. The Blower's iconic headlamps have been reborn by Vintage Headlamp Restoration International Ltd in Sheffield. This father and son team is world-renowned for their silversmithing and ability to create vintage-design headlamps from original specifications. Meanwhile, in the bespoke Mulliner Trim Shop in Crewe, a new ash frame created by Lomax Coachbuilders is going through the final stages of carpentry by Mulliner's team of experts, before hand-trimming starts through Mulliner's master craftsmen.
Draftsmen meet Craftsmen – A Team of Artisan Suppliers
Over the course of the coming weeks, more and more components for Car Zero will be completed and test-fit. The new engine and supercharger will be put through their paces on Bentley's very own engine development test beds in Crewe, while period-specific paint will be applied to the chassis before final assembly begins. The finished Car Zero is due to make its first public appearance in the autumn – but only after it's been shown to the 12 customers of this extraordinary project.
The Next Steps