Bentley Motors announce that the legendary Speed Six Bentley known as ‘The Blue Train' will celebrate the start of its 85th anniversary with an exclusive first appearance at the Rétromobile Exhibition this week in Paris.
In 1930, Captain Woolf Barnato, Chairman of Bentley Motors, having won the Le Mans 24 hours three times, was staying in Cannes at the Carlton Hotel with his golfer friend, Dale Bourn. He accepted a wager that he could not only beat the Blue Train to Calais, as had been done before, but could be at his club in London before the train reached Calais.
On the day of the race, he heard the train had departed at 17:54. He had arranged for fuel stations to remain open through the night in Aix-En-Provence and Lyon, and a tanker lorry in Auxerre, and despite a puncture near Paris, he reached Boulogne with an hour to spare.
He arrived at the Conservative Club in St James, London for a celebratory drink having passed the clock at Victoria Railway Station at 15.30 the next day, four minutes before the train was due to arrive in Calais, having averaged 43.43 mph driving on pre-motorway roads.
He won the £100 wager, although the Automotive Club de France attempted to fine him £200 for an unauthorised race in France.
More details about the car:
Introduction: first registered May 1930
Body: Gurney Nutting Speed Six
Engine: 6-cylinders, in-line; front; 100 mm x 140 mm, 6597 cc; compr 5.3:1; 180 bhp (134.23 kW) @ 3500 rpm.
Engine Structure: 4-valves, double springs; 8-bearing camshaft, 3-throw coupling rod drive; cast iron cylinder block with stainless steel jacket plates; single port block; 2 vertical HVG5 SU carburettors; two champion plugs per cylinder; Bosch magneto and Delco-Remy coil; Autovac fuel system; 8‑bearing camshaft, with damper; water-cooled
Transmission: rear wheel drive; sdp clutch; 4-speed C-Type gearbox, right hand change; spiral bevel final drive 3.53:1
Chassis: pressed steel frame 0.188 in (4.77 mm), 7 cross-members; semi‑elliptic leaf springs; Bentley and Draper friction dampers; self-wrapping, Dewandre servo mechanical brakes, front Bentley-Perrot; 15.75 in (40 cm) drums; worm and sector steering; 25 gal (113.6 1) fuel tank; Dunlop tyres 21 x 6.00, rear 21 x 7.00; Rudge-Whitworth centre lock wire wheels
Dimensions: wheelbase 140.5 in (356.87 cm), track 56 in (142.2 cm), length 187 in (474.9 cm), width 68.5 in (173.99 cm), ground clearance 7.25 in (18.4 cm), turning circle 47.5 ft (14.5 m)
Equipment: Smith & Jaeger instruments, white figures black faces, German silver parallel-sided radiator shell; Green Label badges. Zeiss headlamps; Bosch electrics; Hobson fuel telegauge; brake vacuum gauge
Performance: maximum speed 92 mph (147.7 km/h) - 100 mph (160.9 km/h), fuel consumption 15 mpg (18.83 l/100 km)
Price: Chassis £1800