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In the halls of Mulliner, Bentley’s prestigious bespoke and coachbuilding division, a remarkable project is underway – the resurrection of the iconic Bentley Speed Six, dormant for 93 years.

This ambitious endeavour harmonises the expertise of British engineering and restoration virtuosos with the skilled artisans of Mulliner’s master technicians.

A dozen Continuation Series Speed Sixes are slated for construction, meticulously crafted with period-correct materials and techniques, paying homage to the visionary design of W.O. Bentley.

Continuation Series: A Testament to Heritage

Following the triumphant completion of twelve Bentley 4½ Litre Supercharged ‘Blower’ Continuation models, acclaimed as the world’s premier pre-war continuation series, the stage is set for the Speed Six revival.

Reviving History: Bentley Speed Six Reborn After 93 Years

With all twelve Speed Six Continuation Series models already spoken for, patrons are granted the privilege of personalising their vehicles, selecting from an array of authentic finishes and materials. Each automobile’s production cycle spans a meticulous ten-month journey from inception to delivery.

Engineering Excellence: Carving a Legacy

The inaugural prototype, dubbed Car Zero, has embarked on a rigorous six-month regimen, encompassing exhaustive engineering assessments. Extensive engine trials spanning 40 hours, coupled with 10,000 kilometres of endurance trials across varied terrains, culminated in top-speed assessments, mirroring the performance benchmarks of the originals with a commendable 112 mph feat.

Despite the vast chasm between Bentley’s original Cricklewood establishment and Mulliner’s pristine workshops, a steadfast commitment to tradition prevails. Every Speed Six in the Continuation Series is meticulously handcrafted utilising tools, materials, and methodologies reminiscent of the 1920s era.

Reviving History: Bentley Speed Six Reborn After 93 Years

To achieve this authenticity, Mulliner has enlisted the expertise of a consortium of revered British engineering and restoration specialists.

Chassis Resurrection: Precision in Motion

In Matlock, Portobello Engineering meticulously interprets original blueprints to forge the Speed Six’s chassis. Over 20 tonnes of tooling are meticulously calibrated to mould the 5mm thick S355J2 steel, forming the chassis components.

The assembly process, employing non-metric BSF bolts reminiscent of Bentley’s Cricklewood era, attests to a commitment to historical fidelity.

Lomax Coachbuilders, stationed in Ludlow, painstakingly carve the Speed Six’s ash frame utilising time-honoured coachbuilding techniques. This frame, when united with the chassis at Mulliner, will be draped in approximately 25 metres of Rexine, a specialised period-correct fabric, to fashion the iconic Weymann-style open tourer bodywork.

A Beacon of Authenticity

Vintage Headlamp Restoration International Ltd, helmed by a father-son duo in Sheffield, meticulously recreates the iconic Speed Six headlamps. These luminaries, integral to the triumphs of Bentley’s Le Mans endeavours, are faithfully replicated to illuminate the path to historical authenticity.

Reviving History: Bentley Speed Six Reborn After 93 Years

The Vintage Car Radiator Company, housed within Bicester Heritage, showcases unparalleled expertise in classic car radiators. Their contribution to the Speed Six includes the radiator core, a mirror-polished nickel silver shell, and a meticulously hand-crafted fuel tank, epitomising the zenith of pre-war engineering.

Engineering Marvel: Breathing Life Anew

Collaborating with Kingsbury Racing Shop Limited and Tom Dark Engineering, a new 6½ Litre race specification engine is meticulously fabricated. Utilising original drawings transformed into 3D models, over 600 components, including a bespoke engine block casting, are meticulously crafted.

The engine’s design, featuring four valves and two spark plugs per cylinder, harkens to an era of pioneering innovation, with initial dyno tests showcasing a formidable 205 bhp output.

Reviving History: Bentley Speed Six Reborn After 93 Years

The Continuation Series Speed Six draws inspiration from two illustrious forebears: Bentley’s own Speed Six, GU409, and ‘Old Number 3’, a celebrated works Speed Six. Generously loaned by its custodian, ‘Old Number 3′ provided invaluable insights into dimensions, materials, and components, informing the Continuation Series’ faithful replication.

Heritage Triumph: Reliving Glory Days

Debuting in 1928 as a dynamic iteration of the Bentley 6½ Litre, the Speed Six epitomised sporting prowess. Enhanced engine specifications, including twin SU carburettors and a high-performance camshaft, yielded unparalleled power and agility. Triumphs at the Le Mans 24 Hour race in 1929 and 1930 cemented the Speed Six’s legendary status in Bentley’s racing annals.

In March 1930, Bentley Chairman Woolf Barnato etched his name in history, embarking on a race against the Blue Train from Cannes to Calais. Piloting a H.J. Mulliner-bodied saloon, Barnato traversed over 570 miles non-stop, defying rough terrains and inclement weather to triumphantly arrive in London before the train’s arrival in Calais. This audacious feat, immortalised in Bentley lore, underscores the indomitable spirit of the Speed Six legacy.

In conclusion, the revival of the Bentley Speed Six after 93 years stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of automotive craftsmanship and engineering excellence.

Through the meticulous efforts of Mulliner and a consortium of specialist artisans, each Continuation Series Speed Six embodies the spirit of its illustrious predecessors. From the faithful recreation of chassis and bodywork to the reimagining of vintage headlamps and engines, every detail reverberates with historical authenticity.

As these iconic vehicles prepare to embark on a new journey, they carry with them the rich tapestry of Bentley’s racing heritage, immortalising the triumphs and innovations of a bygone era for generations to come.

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