Chassis: GPG 47
Registration: SC 733
The term Blue Train Bentley refers to two Bentley automobiles, based on the high-performance 6½ litre Bentley Speed Six model, which became known for their owner Woolf Barnato's involvement in the Blue Train Races of 1930.
The Bentley Speed Six was introduced in 1928 as a more sporting version of the Bentley 6½ Litre. It would become the most-successful racing Bentley, claiming victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1929 and 1930 with Bentley Boys drivers Woolf Barnato, Tim Birkin, and Glen Kidston.
However, the Speed Six was also fitted as a conventional road car, and many were indeed used apart from racing for everyday transportation. Bentley Motors Chairman Woolf Barnato used them with various bespoke bodyworks from British coachbuilders as his personal automobiles. Two saloon-bodied Speed Six even served as patrol cars for the Criminal Investigation Department of the Western Australia Police.
In January 1930, the Rover Company's Rover Light Six gained a worldwide reputation when it was the first successful participant in the Blue Train Races, a series of record-breaking attempts between automobiles and trains in the late 1920s and early 1930s. It saw a number of motorists and their own or sponsored automobiles race against the Le Train Bleu, a train that ran between Calais and the French Riviera.
One evening in March 1930, at a dinner at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes, talk around the table had swung round to the topic of motor cars; in particular to the advertisement by Rover claiming that its Rover Light Six had gone faster than the famous \"Le train bleu\" express. Woolf Barnato contended that just to go faster than the Blue Train was of no special merit. He raised the stakes by arguing that at the wheel of his own Bentley Speed Six, he could be at his club in London before the train reached Calais and bet 100 Pound Sterling on that challenge! The next day, the 13 March 1930, as the Blue Train steamed out of Cannes station at 17:45h, Barnato, with one of his friends who had gallantly offered to act as a relief driver, took to the mighty Bentley and set off at the double. From Lyons onwards they had to battle against heavy rain. At 4:20h, in Auxerre, they lost time searching for a refueling rendezvous. Through central France they hit fog, then shortly after Paris they had a burst tyre, requiring the use of their one and only spare. And yet, racing non-stop through the night along the bumpy, 1930s Routes Nationales, they reached the coast at 10:30h, sailed over to England on the cross-Channel packet, and were neatly parked outside The Conservative Club in St. James's Street, London, by 15:20h - four minutes before the Blue Train reached Calais. He won the bet, whereupon the French authorities promptly fined him a sum far greater than his winnings - for racing on public roads.
This car is the last of 5 cars made by Bob Petersen, as faithful and true recreations of the only original Speed 6 “Blue Train” or streamlined fastback \"Sportsman Coupe\" by Gurney Nutting. The Petersen cars use either a Rolls Royce Phantom II or Bentley Chassis with a Rolls 6.5 litre engine. This car was built on Chassis GPG 47, a Rolls Royce 20/25 chassis, with engine 574 A2 their 6 ½ litre engine.
The car was commissioned for a Mr. Steven Collins, the number plate denoting his initials. The build was finished in 2008, and remained in his ownership until it was sold to its current owner through Mr. Bob Petersen. The current owner is a senior officer on the board of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club in Germany.
In Mr. Collins’ ownership the car only covered around 300 miles; the remaining 6,700 miles were travelled by the current owner, driving the car from Bob Petersen’s workshop in Devon to his house in Switzerland. He then competed the car in the Petersen Tour across the Alps earlier this year, and subsequently drove the car to London where it is presented in our showrooms at the moment.
This car presents a tremendous and rare opportunity to own 1 of 5 very faithful recreations of one of the most famous and prestigious Bentleys of all time. Presented in the best of Bentley colours of Brooklands Green, with matching Weymann Fabric and leather interior complimented by tailor made luggage cases, hand crafted by the same man who makes the cases for Luis Vuitton. This is a car that would be very well suited to a long European Tour or rally, whilst also being very presentable at any concours or other exclusive car event. Despite the cars power, this car is very ‘user friendly’, featuring power steering, modern cooling and servo assisted brakes.
The car also is sold with a very rare and unique painting of the car, with only 25 limited edition prints of the car allowed but only three actually having been made.
An opportunity not to be missed, this is the only Petersen car available for sale at the minute, and presents a rare and exclusive purchase.