Bentley Builds Its First Brand-New Speed Six in 93 Years

Is it Bentley’s oldest new car, or its newest old car? Yes.

Bentley Speed Six
The Bentley Speed Six.

Bentley has been making cars for over a hundred years, so picking one of them and calling it the quintessential Bentley is a fool’s errand. Nevertheless, if you were compelled to pick one for the introductory paragraph of your InsideHook Daily Brief, for example, The Bentley 6 1/2 liter “Speed Six” would be a top choice. 

The Speed Six is a pre-war race car that won Le Mans in 1929 and 1930, and Bentley just built a new one. 

Part of Bentley’s Continuation Series by Mulliner, the new Speed Six is more than just a replica. It’s built by Bentley from the ground up using the same designs, specifications and processes as the originals. Bentley’s famed heritage collection has a number of vehicles from its long history and all are kept in running order, including “Old Number 3,” a Speed Six that raced in 1930. This car was used as a point of reference and even had components 3D scanned for the most accurate recreation of parts. In fact, over 600 individual new parts were manufactured for the engine alone. All the materials are authentic, down to the paint. 

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The original Speed Six was a pre-war race car that was built in founder W.O. Bentley’s first factory in Cricklewood, London. It was built after its predecessor, the 4 1/2 supercharged “Blower” Bentley, failed to rack up race wins as expected. There’s no replacement for displacement, as the saying goes. It went on to score back-to-back Le Mans wins and setting a new lap record at the historic event. 

At its peak, the original Speed Six engine produced up to 180 horsepower, while the new engine has been pushing 205 horsepower during initial tests. 

Debuting at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Speed Six Bentley rolled out has been dubbed “Car Zero,” and will be retained by Bentley and used for stress-testing in the real world, collecting durability data as Bentley builds more Speed Sixes for customers. Yes, there’s more than one and you can buy them. 

Well, you could have, anyway. Only 12 Speed Sixes are slated for production and those have already been allocated for Bentley superfans who have put down 1.5 million euros for their own brand-new historic race car. 

The Continuation Series is a fascinating exercise in connecting automotive history to the present, and while there are just a few models meant for a handful of millionaires, it’s still a way to preserve the old ways for future generations. We’re hoping the twelve owners are big into sharing. After giving the Speed Six Car Zero a proper shakedown on the road and even a few race tracks, the first customer car will begin assembly in October, with the goal to complete all twelve by 2025.

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