• Historic Bentley takes on epic test
LATEST MODEL: Well, it was in 1930 when it entered its first Mille Miglia. Now, 85 years later, it's there again. Image: Bentley Moltors
• 85 years since Birkin/Barnato bid
• 1930 4½-litre Blower one of only 55
CREWE, England / BRESCIA, Italy - In 1930, ‘Bentley Boy’ Tim Birkin reported that his aborted attempt on the Mille Miglia in a now legendary Blower was due to a lack of “due preparation”.
Now, 2015 and 85 years on, Bentley has ensured that all plans are in place for a successful Blower run.
FIRST BRITISH DRIVERS
‘Bentley Boys’ the Honourable Sir Henry (Tim) Birkin and Bentley chairman Woolf Barnato were to have been the first British drivers to attempt the thousand-mile Italian test of endurance in a supercharged Bentley Blower - known as the No.2 ‘Birkin Blower’.
According to then contemporary media reports, however, "much disappointment was felt at the news of the Bentley withdrawal from the Brescia Thousand Miles Race".
This year, 2015 and 85 years later, Bentley’s original 1930 4½-litre supercharged Blower is aiming to finish what its sibling never started - the world-renowned cross-country route over May 14-17.
Bentley's director of royal and VIP relations, Richard Charlesworth, who will be driving the historic Blower, said: “When the Blower was built in 1930 the Mille Miglia was uncharted territory for British racers.
"Some 85 years on and the Bentley is now a familiar sight – this year will be the Blower’s fifth entry. In 2014 we achieved the best result yet for Bentley and we're hoping to continue that success in 2015.”
BUILT FOR RACING
The 85-year-old Blower, one of only 50 built for the road, still has its original Vanden Plas Open Sports Four-Seat body. It was described by Autocar magazine in September 1930 as having "the appeal of immense power, linked with great docility" – qualities the team will be hoping to exploit in Italy.
Built for racing, each Blower had a supercharger installation developed by Amherst Villiers. The car running the 2015 Mille Miglia started life in 1930 as one of the company’s first showroom demonstrators but is still performing eight decades later.
With its classic "British racing green" livery and distinctive exhaust note, the Blower is one of the most instantly recognisable cars of all time.
Live updates from Mille Miglia 2015 will be provided over the course of the event via the Bentley Communications Twitter feed @BentleyComms. For more information visit the Mille Miglia website.