Bentley's got a new 'Blower' engine

By JAY WONG | 9 September 2020

LONDON: The engine for the first car in Bentley Mulliner’s Blower Continuation Series has been fired up for the first time on a dedicated and specially-prepared testbed at Bentley’s Crewe factory.

The Blower Continuation Series is a run of 12 newly-built re-creations of one of the most famous Bentleys of all time – the supercharged 4.5-litre "Blower" created for racing by Sir Tim Birkin in the late 1920s.

Forming the world’s first pre-war continuation series, these 12 cars have all been pre-sold to Bentley collectors and enthusiasts around the world.

With the engineering prototype for the project – Car Zero – now in build, the first engine has been re-created by Bentley Mulliner with the support of specialists.

While the engine was being built, a team of Bentley engineers began work to prepare one of the four engine development testbeds at Bentley’s Crewe headquarters in the UK to receive the engine.

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The engine test facility has been at Bentley since the factory was built in 1938, and the cells were originally used to run-in and power-test Merlin V12 aero engines produced by the factory for the Spitfire and Hurricane fighters of the Second World War.

The engines will be tested across a 20-hour cycle, gradually increasing both engine speed and load conditions from idle up to 3,500 rpm. Once each engine is fully run-in, a full-load power curve will be measured.

Once testbed running is complete, the next step for Car Zero’s engine will be real-world durability.

When the build of the car is complete it will start a programme of track testing – running for sessions of gradually increasing duration and speed, checking functionality and robustness under ever harder conditions.

The test programme is designed to achieve the equivalent of 35,000km of real-world driving across 8,000km of track driving, and simulates the undertaking of famous rallies such as Peking to Paris and Mille Miglia.