Bentley Speed Sixe
Brothers W.O. and H.M. Bentley founded Bentley Motors in 1912. In 1919, W.O. branched out on his own. From 1926 until 1930, the high-performance automobile, Bentley Speed Six was manufactured. W.O. was hoping to create a car that had a powerful engine.
The original Bentley 6 ½ liter was produced from 1926 to 1928. He created the Speed Six by increasing the cylinder on his 4-cylinder engine by two. As far as racing Bentley's, the Speed Six is the best-known and most successful Bentley in history. The Blue Train Races of 1930 is responsible for the Bentley Speed Six's nickname of the Blue Train.
The Bentley Speed Six was based upon the Bentley 6 ½ liter, but had many customized innovations. The clutch brake allowed for fast changing of the gears and the braking drum system was adjusted. The patented design of power braking that could be controlled by the driver while in motion was a phenomenal advancement of the day.
The six-cylinder engine had an overhead camshaft with two spark plugs per cylinder. The engine block was all one piece and the head was made of iron so there were no head gaskets to blow.
The Bentley Speed Six won the Le Mans Race in 1924, and from 1927 to 1930. Bentley had a reputation for innovative design and for being extremely fast as well as reliable. Although the Bentley Speed Six, and the Bentley Motor Company overall had a fantastic reputation, but even with that, the company was facing financial difficulty. In 1925, Woolf Barnato became a major shareholder of the Bentley Motor Company.
Many of the Bentley Speed Six autos were also manufactured as road cars to be used for everyday modes of transportation. Even the chairman of Bentley Motors, Woolf Barnato had a Speed Six car. The Western Australia Police Department also had two Bentley Speed Sixes styled for their use.
The Blue Train races of 1930 saw a Rover Light Six as the winner of the race between car and train that had been conducted for the last 10 years. The record-breaking win of the Rover made them famous worldwide and when Woolf Barnato attended a dinner party in March of 1930 in Cannes, he stated that the Bentley Speed Six could outrun the train to Calais. He even bet a reputed 100 or 200 Pounds Sterling on his claim.
Barnato drove in heavy rain and lost time due to refueling and thick fog. When their tire blew in Paris, they were sure they had lost. With four minutes to spare, the Bentley Speed Six, driven by Woolf Barnato and co-piloted by his friend, they arrived at the Conservative Club in London. He was rewarded with a huge fine from the French government for racing upon public roads. The fine was actually much more than his winnings, but cemented the Bentley's reputation as a world-class racecar.
It was the H.J. Mulliner body style that Barnato won the race in, and it is that specific model that was forever known as the Blue Train Bentley. Other model were mistakenly called Blue Train Bentleys, but was of little significance. Read more about the Blue Train Bentley at oldoppos.us.