Scotland’s historical seat of power, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, is playing host to the 2015 Concours of Elegance from 4 to 6 September, with an impressive array of Bentley models taking centre stage.
The prestigious, invitation-only event – which showcases 60 of the world’s rarest and most valuable cars – will feature six Bentley models ranging from a 1927 6 ½ Litre Vanden Plas tourer to a 1960 S2 Continental with H.J. Mulliner Fastback coachwork.
Not only is the Mulliner name still closely associated with Bentley today, but it also has historical ties with the Scottish capital. In December 1909 John Croall & Sons Ltd of Edinburgh purchased a controlling shareholding in H. J. Mulliner & Co, which it held until 1959, where after the coachbuilding company officially became part of Bentley Motors Ltd.
Other Bentley models on display at the Concours of Elegance include the famous ‘Blue Train’ Speed Six, the Team Blower, a 1930 8 Litre, a 4 ¼ Litre Vanden Plas tourer from 1937 and a 1952 R-Type Continental.
As Bentley is an official partner of the Concours of Elegance, Sunday 6 September is called ‘Bentley Sunday’. On the final day of the event a dedicated area in front of the Palace of Holyroodhouse will display all of the Bentleys in attendance. A ‘Trophy of Elegance’ will also be presented to the best customer Bentley parked in the brand’s dedicated car park.
It was the R-Type which first brought the Continental name into Bentley lexicon in 1952. With a top speed of 120 mph this was the fastest four-seater in the world at the time. Many of the 208 examples produced were coach built by Mulliner.
‘Blue Train’ Bentley
This year is the 85th anniversary of that most famous Bentley Boy adventure – the Blue Train race.
In 1930 Captain Woolf Barnato, Chairman of Bentley Motors, was staying in Cannes when he accepted a wager that not only could he beat the Calais-Mediterranée Express (or ‘Blue Train’) back to Calais, but that he could be at his club in London before the train even reached the English Channel.
He was, and the remarkable victory has resonated with Bentley enthusiasts ever since. The car that was believed to have accomplished the feat was the iconic Gurney Nutting two-door fastback coupe. In recent years evidence has emerged to suggest Barnato drove his Mulliner saloon-bodied Speed 6, however, it is the coupe that will forever be known as the ‘Blue Train’ car.
One of just five cars built for racing, the 4 ½ Litre Supercharged ‘Team Blower’ was used by the original Bentley racing team of the late 1920s, and is still performing over eight decades later.
This year marks the 85th anniversary of the Woolf Barnato and Glen Kidston Le Mans victory in 1930. While the Blower wasn’t the winning car that day, with Tim Birkin at the wheel its heroic performance embodies the true spirit of the vintage racing era.
Launched in 1930, only 100 Bentley 8 Litres were ever produced. Extremely luxurious, yet with a top speed of 100mph, the 8 Litre combines craftsmanship with performance, drawing parallels with Bentley’s current flagship, the Mulsanne.