1953 Bentley Special “Blue Train” Recreation
Most authentic recreation of Bentley’s Speed 6 “Blue Train” Special
Limited edition production celebrating the famous race over 80 years ago
Driven only 1,216 miles since completion
Hand built using only the finest materials to recreate a racing icon
Coachwork made from a combination of ash timber framing and hand-formed aluminum
Bentley straight-8 engine with 180 horsepower
Based on design and body by J. Gurney Nutting coachworks
Bentley is known far and wide as one of the longest-running automotive manufacturers still in existence and operating to this day. During those 100 years of automobiles, many legends have been born and racing drivers created by the historic marque, but some are more legendary than others. One of the most famous stories of them all is the Bentley Special “Blue Train” and its driver Woolf Barnato, racing a steam engine across the French countryside in toiling weather conditions. That 1930 car and race inspired a limited line of authentic and exacting recreations almost 80 years later, built by European craftsman Racing Green Engineering. Created to exacting standards to ensure that even the smallest details are correct, the result is the exact recreation of a legendary Bentley that you can own and drive.
Woolf Barnato was a well-known playboy millionaire, heir to a South African diamond and gold mine, an international sportsman, and one of the original “Bentley Boys.” He became chairman of Bentley Motors and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 1928 and 1929. The story of the Blue Train car is from the famous French express train, which Barnato wagered to his friends that he could beat the train from Cannes all the way to Calais, the opposite side of France. Knowing that Barnato was exceptional behind the wheel, none took the bet but Barnato went ahead with the challenge anyway. With his friend in tow for relief driving, both the Bentley and train left at 5:45pm destined for Calais. Braving dirt roads, caught in downpouring rain, and finding the pre-arranged fuel pit spots in the night wasn’t enough to stop them, driving a total of 570 miles in the night. They reached Calais at 10:30am and decided to continue onto London by getting on a ferry and crossing the English Channel. Barnato and his friend parked his Speed Six outside of the Conservative Club in St. James’ Street at 3:20pm after the grueling 700-mile journey. Just four minutes later, the Blue Train arrived at the station in Calais.
This astounding story has left an impact on racers and automobile fanatics alike, but maybe not as much as it did with Racing Green Engineering from the U.K. in Carmarthenshire. Restoring cars for over 40 years and excellent at their craft, they decided to create the perfect authentic recreation of the famous “Blue Train” Bentley. This limited production and limited edition began with its first completed car in 2007 which was invited to be seen for the first time at Goodwood in the U.K. Nothing is left to question during one of their fantastically detailed builds, ensuring that when you step into one of their recreations it feels as if you’re sitting in the real bona fide “Blue Train” special. Built around a Bentley MK VI chassis and running gear with an 8-cylinder B80 or B81 Bentley engine, it’s as good as it gets. The bodywork is a unique mix of ash timber framing and hand-crafted aluminum panels, with the interior lined with the finest Connolly leather for the seats and polished walnut on the doors and dashboard. They even go to the great lengths of having cocktail cabinets containing pressed crystal glasses for if you’re out at an event and the occasion calls for a special drink. Sitting inside this carefully crafted Bentley is one of the closest ways to experience the sensation like you’ve been transported back in time to almost a century ago.
Finished in 2018, Racing Green Engineering crafted this example with tobacco brown Connolly leather trim with the exterior in a sinister black livery. With a dramatic presence anywhere it goes, the car was built exactly to the wishes of its first collector. It was fitted with the powerful Bentley inline eight-cylinder engine that was also used in the Centurion ARV tank. The level of detail and craftsmanship throughout is unparalleled, ensuring period correct fittings, finishes and components are perfect. The car was sold in January of 2019 to its most recent owner who took the car on regular trips and enjoyed the car. The car only recently arrived at Canepa, only 1,216 miles on the odometer. The Bentley was given a comprehensive detailing front to back, only enhancing the luster of the sinister coach. Now available for a new owner, allowing the experience of what it was like to drive a custom coach-built car. One step inside and you’ll understand Racing Green Engineering’s motivation to building such an authentic recreation. Now is your chance for you and your passengers to be transported back in time to 1930 alongside Woolf Barnato.
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