Bentley will be using 3D printing to recreate older models in what will be the first continuation of a pre-war race car. In doing so, the company will produce 12 examples of the 1929 Bentley 4½-litre “Blower” automobile. Long ago a staple of European racetracks, the Blowers are now one of the the most desirable Bentley’s among collectors.
The British brand is bringing back its roots with new manufacturing technologies. The process will use 3D scanning and additive manufacturing, creating 12 cars identical to the original series. However, according to the company, 3D printing will also be operating alongside 1920s molds and tooling jigs, with an assortment of traditional hand tools.
For the restoration, they will use detailed scans derived from the original series by taking apart a unit still in Bentley’s possession. The restoration team will disassemble and scan Tim Birkin’s original Team Car number 2 to produce these reference resources and models. The entire process will also feature extensive recreations of the engine components, looking to mimic the original’s performance.
Automobile 3D Printing & Restoration
Aside from the exterior, each model will run as close to the originals as possible. All 12 recreations will include a four-cylinder, 16-valve engine with an aluminium crankcase, cast iron cylinder liners and non-detachable cast-iron cylinder heads. Bentley will duplicate the Amherst Villiers Mk IV roots-type supercharger, having each car run on roughly 240 bhp.
3D printing in car recreation and renovation is quite a common thing, nowadays. Various companies from Porsche to Aston Martin and also smaller restoration specialists have applied additively manufactured components. Bentley’s 3D printing ambitions are taking it a step further by recreating just about every facet of a long-retired model. It’s also incorporating a mix of various techniques both old and new to produce as faithful a representation as possible. This is also not the first time Bentley has expressed an interest in 3D printing, as they’ve used it for their modern automobiles as well.
The whole recreation process will reportedly take up to two years of work. Bentley, however, are still charging ahead and already discussing pricing with interested customers and collectors. The company is expecting these replica models to be road-ready and legal. This shouldn’t be an issue as the Blower was already at this year’s Mille Miglia, together with daily hill runs at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, along with various other events.
Featured image courtesy of Bentley.