Bentley Motors and The Little Car Company today unveil a road-legal, 85 per cent scale recreation of the most famous Bentley in the world. ‘Blower Jnr’, a recreation of the 1929 4½-litre Supercharged Team Car No. 2 in Bentley’s Heritage Collection, is the first road-legal car from The Little Car Company and the most sophisticated city car ever built.
Crafted by hand to the same standards as any Bentley, and adorned with beautiful details all inspired by the original Team car, Blower Jnr is built around a 48V electric powertrain with a 15 kW (20 bhp) motor, meaning a top speed of 45 mph / 72 km/h in the UK and EU (25 mph / 40 km/h in the USA due to legislation) and an expected range of around 65 miles, with tandem seating for two adults.
Blower Jnr is a collaboration between The Little Car Company and Bentley’s Heritage Collection. The original Team Car from 1929 – insured for £25m – was used by The Little Car Company to master the design of Blower Jnr, with details recreated at a sizeable 85 per cent scale. The result is a vehicle that will have even experts looking twice – with the car measuring 3.7 metres long and 1.5 metres wide. Unlike The Little Car Company’s other products, Blower Jnr is fully road legal and designed specifically to be used on the road.
A Faithful Homage
Beyond the headline figures, the beauty of Blower Jnr is in the recreation and repurposing of details from the original car.
The frame is painted steel, to which an authentic chassis specification is attached. Leaf springs and scaled-down, period-correct friction dampers bring a comfortable ride, while Brembo disc brakes at the front and drums at the rear provide the stopping power. The electric motor is mounted across the rear axle, while the batteries and drive electronics are all housed in a hidden undertray.
The bodywork is crafted in two sections, and while the rear body structure is crafted in carbon fibre rather than being an ash frame, it’s covered in impregnated fabric, just as the original. The bonnet, with its multiple cooling louvres, is hand-crafted in aluminium using traditional techniques and fastened with beautiful leather buckled bonnet straps. The two-person cockpit is in a 1+1 layout, with a central adjustable driving position and the passenger travelling behind in the rear seat. An optional bespoke weekend bag fits behind, in the scaled down and repurposed fuel tank complete with lockable latch.
At the front of the car, the supercharger now houses the charging port that connects the onboard charger to any Type 1 or Type 2 socket. It’s surrounded by the famous Bentley mesh grille, in an authentic nickel-plated radiator housing.
At first glance the dashboard looks like a scaled-down replica of the original, with Engine Turned Aluminium forming the dashboard itself. The fuel pressure pump has been repurposed as the drive mode selector, with a choice of Comfort (2 kW), Bentley (8 kW) or Sport for maximum power of 15 kW. Forward, Neutral and Reverse are selected via a lever that looks and feels like the ignition advance control from the original Blower. Other switchgear for the headlights and indicators copies the form and materiality of the magneto switches from the Team Car, while the battery charge gauge recreates the original ammeter.
A USB charging point is discreetly concealed until required, and a dual-function display that serves as a Garmin satellite navigation screen and reversing camera completes the cabin.
The First Edition
The first 99 examples of Blower Jnr will be First Edition Models. These will feature First Edition badging on the hood, door sill plate and dash as well as an engraved and numbered ‘1 of 99’ plaque. All First Edition models will be finished in Blower Green, with matching painted chassis and wheels, and a Union flag hand-painted on both sides of the body as per the original, while the seats and interior are upholstered in the Dark Green Lustrana Hide used by Mulliner for the Blower Continuation Series. The side panel and radiator carry the period-correct racing number, while the steering wheel is rope-bound.
The original Supercharged 4 ½ Litre ‘Blower’ Team Car No. 2
No other pre-war Bentley had an impact like the supercharged 4½-litre ‘Blower’ Bentley. While it never won an endurance race, the Blower Bentley was the outright fastest race car of the day, and counted amongst its fans the author Ian Fleming – who later decided that his famous fictional secret agent James Bond would drive a supercharged 4½-litre Bentley, with the often-associated rival British sports car merely the MI6 “pool car”.
The Blower Bentleys were born from a philosophy devised by Sir Tim Birkin – notable racing driver and Bentley Boy – to extract more speed from the racing Bentleys of the day. While W.O Bentley’s method was to increase engine capacity – from 3-litre, to 4½-litre, to 6½-litre – Birkin was impressed by the Roots-type supercharger developed by British engineer Amherst Villiers, which boosted the 4½’s power from 130 bhp to 240 bhp in race tune. He persuaded Bentley Chairman Woolf Barnato to sanction production of 55 supercharged 4½-litre Bentleys, with five allocated for competition. The car on Bentley’s heritage fleet – UU 5872 – is the second of the four ‘Team’ cars developed at Birkin & Co’s workshops at Welwyn Garden City with funding from wealthy heiress the Hon. Dorothy Paget. The cars competed in twelve races, with the most famous being Team Car No. 2’s adventure at the 1930 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Team Car No. 2 was sympathetically restored in the 1960s, preserving much of its original patina. Owned by Bentley Motors since 2000, it has had only minor cosmetic maintenance, and is much as Birkin would have driven it. Since then it has competed in the modern Mille Miglia five times, has driven to Le Mans on several occasions and has also appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed as well as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Team Car No. 2 inspired a highly exclusive edition of twelve Continuation Cars, each one an exact recreation handcrafted in the Mulliner Classic workshops using traditional techniques passed down through generations. The Blower Continuation Series is the world’s first pre-war continuation, and the final car is in the final stages of build now. A second Continuation Series of 12 Bentley Speed Six models is currently in development.