1929 Bentley Blue Train

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Barnato drove a H. J. Mulliner-bodied Bentley Speed Six formal saloon during his Blue Train Race, which became known as the Blue Train Bentley. Two months later, on 21 May 1930, he took delivery of a new Bentley Speed Six streamlined fastback "Sportsman Coupé" by Gurney Nutting. Barnato named it the "Blue Train Special" in memory of his race, and it too became commonly referred to as the Blue Train Bentley. The H. J. Mulliner-bodywork was stripped off the original car's chassis to make place for a bespoke replacement, as was common practice for automobiles at that time.

With growing historical distance from the event, the Gurney Nutting-bodied car was regularly mistaken for or erroneously referred to as being the car that had raced the Blue Train. This was re-iterated in articles and various popular motoring paintings depicting that car racing "le train bleu". Even in 2005 for the 75th anniversary of the race, Bentley's promotional material continued this depiction as the rakish coupé and the related daredevil Bentley Boys mythology symbolised the brand image Bentley was asked to project as a marque of the Volkswagen Group much better than the rather staid formal saloon bodywork by H. J. Mulliner [6] [7].

Thanks to research efforts and a massive automotive restoration by Bruce and Jolene McCaw of Medina, Washington – who became owner of the Gurney Nutting-built "Blue Train Special" – this long-time mistake became finally more widely publicised. The original H. J. Mulliner Blue Train Bentley bodywork was also reconstructed, so that both cars are now in fully restored existence. They are currently owned by Bruce and Jolene McCaw.

Source: Wikipedia, 2011

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