Wednesday, June 17, 2015

1930 Bentley Speed Six 'Blue Train Special' Coupé by Nutting

Le Train Bleu (lit. "the blue train"), officially the Calais-Méditerranée Express, was a luxury French night express train which carried wealthy and famous passengers between Calais and the French Riviera from 1922 until 1938. It was colloquially referred to as "le train bleu" in French and the Blue Train in English because of its dark blue sleeping cars. The Blue Train Races were 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, to showcase recent progress achieved by cars regarding reliability, durability, speed, comfort and to promote the cars, their marques and the adventurous persona of the drivers.

In March 1930, Woolf Barnato, chairman of Bentley and winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1928 and 1929, contended that at the wheel of his Bentley Speed Six, he could be at his club in London before the Blue Train reached Calais and bet £100 on that challenge. He raced against the Blue Train in a Speed Six with H. J. Mulliner saloon coachwork. The Bentley Speed Six ended up arriving at the London club four minutes before the Blue Train reached Calais, thus winning the bet.

It had generally been believed that the car in the race was this green one-off Gurney Nutting Sportsman Speed Six Coupé (chassis #HM2855), but records showed that the coupé had been delivered to Barnato in May 1930, more than a month after the race. Nevertheless, to commemorate the winning of the race, Barnato nick-named the Nutting Speed Six, 'Blue Train Special'. Gurney Nutting was responsible for the design lowline fastback. The low roofline and 2+1 cockpit with a single ‘side-saddle’ rear seat gives it a lean, low and purposeful profile; this unique design was cited by Bentley’s design team as one of the inspirations for the modern-day Continental GT. Extra equipment installed for Barnato included a cocktail cabinet. Barnato's "Blue Train Special" was shown in 2003 Louis Vuitton Classic concours d'elegance in Paris. Not surprisingly it was awarded the 'Best of show' award on one of its very rare public appearances.

The Bentley Speed Six was available as a road car for everyday use: with an naturally aspirated Straight 6, single-port block, two SU carburettors, a high-performance camshaft, and a compression ratio of 5.3:1, the Speed Six's engine produced 180 hp (130 kW) at 3500 rpm. Top Speed 161 km/h (100 mph). 
The 'Blue Train Special' has this engine. The racing version of the Speed Six had a wheelbase of 11 feet (132 in; 3,353 mm) and an engine with a compression ratio of 6.1:1 that produced 200 hp (150 kW) at 3500 rpm. The Speed Six models were produced from 1929 to 1930, with just 182 examples built during that time. (wikipedia &

(Photos from, &

2014 Bentley "Blue Train" Recreation 

The Blue Train Recreation was modeled after the Gurney Nutting Coupe and built to exacting standards by Bob Petersen Engineering in England. This series is ever popular, as the firm has a lengthy three to five year waiting list for those looking to acquire their own fabled Bentley. This example, built on a 1950 Bentley Mark VI chassis, was just completed in October 2014.

The car is equipped with a Bentley B80 inline eight-cylinder engine that has been beautifully detailed and features four SU carburetors, which create a healthy 180 horsepower. The powerful inline-eight is mated to a synchronized four-speed transmission, making the Bentley a true pleasure to drive. The rear trunk also features a full tool kit in a fold-down tray, should the owner wish to work on the car themselves. The beautifully crafted interior features matching liquor cabinets, with each containing a decanter and a set of crystal glasses that have been engraved with the Bentley “B,” to provide touring comfort for the passengers. The cabinets are finished in highly polished walnut, as is the dash cowl and the tops of the doors. Beautiful red leather completes the interior, along with matching red carpeting. A Webasto sliding sunroof is fitted, as are twin side-mounted spare wheels. This Blue Train, finished in a stunning and menacing black vinyl-and-leather-covered body, has quite a presence on the road. (

(Photos from

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...