Some 75 years since the adventurer and Le Mans winner Woolf Barnato raced and beat the famous Blue Train on its journey across France, Bentley Motors and its coach building division Mulliner are celebrating his achievement with a powerful, distinctive and luxurious grand tourer based on its flagship four-door saloon: the Arnage Blue Train Series.
In specification, the Blue Train Series Arnage features the 450bhp version of Bentley's remarkable 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, allied to the chassis and suspension set-up of the refined and supple Arnage R. With a 0-60mph acceleration of 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 168mph the Blue Train Series Arnage has the performance to satisfy the most demanding of drivers. A mountainous 645lb ft of torque (875Nm) available at 3250rpm means that the Bentley's performance is instantly accessible.
Externally, the Arnage Blue Train Series is distinguished by its 19" seven-spoke alloy wheels, sunroof, chrome radiator shell, chrome mirror caps and quadruple exhaust tailpipes. Both front and rear bumpers are designed specifically for the Arnage Blue Train Series, with stainless steel matrix mesh to the front bumper cooling ducts. In homage to the slatted bonnet of the original 'Blue Train' Bentley Speed Six, Bentley's design team has specified vertical slatted vents, painted in body colour, behind the trailing edge of the front wheel arches. The Blue Train Arnage will carry the black winged 'B' inside and out, as the distinguishing mark of the most powerful and performance-focused Bentleys, and will also have Blue Train badging on the front wing and door aperture treadplates. A 'privacy' rear backlight may also be specified, another feature which echoes the coachwork of Barnato's 1930s coupe.
The interior is equally distinctive. All instrument and dial faces are black, and the centre console features a subtle Bentley Blue Train badge. Mulliner's meticulous craftsmanship is evident in the veneer waistrails, which feature chrome inlay with winged 'B' badges, and the 'Blue Train' embroidered headrests, in a coordinating thread colour. Other special elements of the interior specification are the wood and hide steering wheel, additional wood veneer panels on the doors and contrast piping on the seats.
A limited number of the Blue Train Series will be produced, the majority being intended for the USA, and all orders have already been filled.
"I am delighted with the Arnage Blue Train Series," said Derek Davies, Brand Director, Arnage and Mulliner, "The engineers and craftsmen of Bentley Mulliner have created an exceptionally desirable car, and a fitting tribute to Woolf Barnato's amazing achievement. In doing so, Bentley Mulliner has created another unique chapter to the Bentley story."
Earlier this month, the first model in the series joined the original 'Blue Train' Speed Six, now owned by Bentley enthusiasts Bruce and Jolene McCaw, along with other historically significant Bentley cars in a 75th Anniversary tour from Cannes to London, following Barnato's original route. Participants enjoyed a more leisured approach to the journey than that taken by Woolf Barnato, with attractions such as wine-tasting, overnight stops and gastronomic meals at chateaux en route.Published 31 October 2005