Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Case of the Blue Train Bentley

Back in 2010, when I was writing my first blog for the Montreal Examiner, I did a story on the race between Bentley Boy Woolf Barnato and his Bentley Speed Six and the Blue Train from Cannes to Calais. (You can see the article here but the site does tend to be ad heavy.) The topic’s interested me ever since, so when YouTube emailed me a link to a video called “On the trail of the Bentley boys in the Bentley Blue Train,” naturally I had to take a look. It does have some lovely footage of a 1930 Bentley Speed Six tooling around London to various sites related to the Bentley Boys, including the location where the body of the car in the video was most likely built.

Sweet, eh? Only one problem. Some of the comments under the video claim that the car in question is NOT the car that Barnato drove in his famous race. According to Wikipedia, (Blue Train Bentley controversy), Barnato owned two Bentley Speed Six cars. The first, a formal salon with body by H.J. Mulliner, was the one he drove in the March 1930 race. The second, a sportsman coupe with body by Gurney Nutting, and the car featured in the video, wasn’t even delivered until May of 1930. The confusion started because Barnato dubbed it the “Blue Train Special.” Confusion which apparently extended to Bentley itself, which used the car in material celebrating the 75th anniversary of the race.

For more details on the unravelling of the story and the race itself, see The Bentley in the video may be the wrong one but it’s still one sensational car.

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