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Bentley Speed Six | Iconic Honour to a Heritage Race-Car

The Bentley Speed Six continues to be the most successful racer in the brand's history. It won the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1929 and 1930, along with several other competitions. It is creating a small number of new vehicles identical to the 93-year-old car's specs to honour that heritage.

The first model will premiere publicly at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend. It is now ready for display. It is referred to as "Car Zero" and will not be sold to a client, instead acting as a test car for Bentley's research and development program.

The Speed Six, Bentley's only other pre-war continuation series, benefited from the lessons the carmaker discovered while creating its predecessor, the Blower Bentley. The team behind the automobiles spent numerous hours conducting research. It used as many historical drawings and papers as possible, along with one of the original Speed Six race cars preserved in the Bentley Heritage Collection.

As required for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the continuation vehicles are mainly created to imitate the 1930 automobile. The team used the original mechanical notes from the era to defend its win and preserve the subtleties that helped make it such a legend.

Early dyno testing reveals that the continuation car's 6.5-litre six-cylinder engine produces 205 horsepower (153 kW/208 PS), which is within five horsepower (3.7 kW/5 PS), or 2.4 per cent, of the 1930 race-tuned engine. This engine was built utilising 600 new parts.

The model heading to Goodwood is dressed in Parsons Napier Green with tan leather inside and is completed in original materials throughout. It is also available in five historically accurate paint colours. To ensure it is prepared for consumers, Bentley will run it hard and store it damp.

Car Zero will go through a test program over the following six months, equal to 21,748 miles (35,000 km) of road driving and 4,971 miles (8,000 km) of track driving. Then, it will take ten months to create each customer's automobile.

Bentley will be able to deliver all 12 client cars at the end of 2025 since they have all been reserved. With Mulliner, Bentley's in-house customisation division, potential buyers will have plenty of time to customise their cars.

TopGear Magazine February 2024