Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Bentley Speed Six

The Blue Train Special Speed Six is the disreputable ancestor of the modern supercar. It was derived from the 1925 6 1/2-Litre, which was designed to offer class and comfort, but hid a rather more naughty and malicious demeanour beneath its ahead-of-its-time swooping coupe shell. Twin carbs pumped the power up to 180bhp - a dangerous and exciting figure, with those sort of brakes - and it started a line of thinking that continues into the Bentleys of today: ample torque, rather than high revs.

So, why 'Blue Train Special'? Well, it all started in the Carlton Bar in Cannes...
Woolf Barnato, then chairman of Bentley, made a little wager. To prove the prowess of this sporty little number, he announced to all present that he could easily drive all the way back to London's RAC Club before Le Train Bleu (aka the Calais-Mediterranée Express, which linked the northern French coast to the Riviera) could make it to Calais. And you know what? Woolf had a gin & tonic in his hand in the RAC Club bar four minutes before the Blue Train reached the coast. Halcyon days.

No comments: