Yet there is a mystery about which Speed Six Barnato drove through France for his famous dare. Was it the Gurney Nutting, or his Mulliner-bodied saloon?
Perhaps every legend has its secrets…. A brilliant sportsman, bon viveur and generous host, he became Chairman of Bentley Motors in when the company was struggling for capital.
Barnato was at a dinner party on board a yacht near Cannes in March when the subject of racing the famous Blue Train came up, as both Rover and Alvis had recently beaten the train from St Raphael to Calais.
Knowing how canny Barnato was, none of his companions would take the bet - so he resolved to do the run anyway, to prove his point. The next day at 5: Rain, fog and punctures During the miles Bentley speed six Cannes to Lyon, the two men encountered heavy rain which slowed their progress.
At around 4am, between Lyon and Paris, near Auxerre, the team lost time searching for their pre-arranged refuelling rendezvous. Despite this setback, some dense fog near Paris and a puncture which used their only spare tyre, Barnato and Bourne finally reached Calais at They had covered over miles Bentley speed six an average speed of In London before the train reached Calais Barnato had arrived in Calais so far ahead of the train that he decided to continue on to London.
After crossing the Channel in a packet steamer, being waved through Customs and driving hard for almost miles, Woolf Barnato parked his Speed Six outside the Conservative Club in St.
Just four minutes later the Blue Train arrived at the station in Calais. Barnato claimed that he had raced as a private individual and not as the Chairman of Bentley … a claim that failed to convince the authorities.
But recently Bruce McCaw, current owner of the Gurney Nutting Speed Six, uncovered evidence that it may not have been finished until after the date of the drive. Bruce McCaw accepts that it was probably the Mulliner-bodied saloon that raced the Blue Train, although definitive proof may never be uncovered.
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It continues to inspire Bentley designers and will be celebrated inthe 85th Anniversary of the original race. Read about the Blue Train shown at Techno-Classica Bentley Motors Cookies Policy Read more about cookies.
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The Bentley 'Blue Train'. One of the most extraordinary surviving “W.O.” Bentleys; Originally delivered to Man Singh II, Maharaja of Jaipur; Remarkably pure, including original chassis. Created at Bentley speed six urging of foremost “Bentley Boy” and Bentley Motors chairman Woolf Barnato, the Speed Six was the racing derivative of the massive and potent.
This eminently driveable recreation of W.O.
Bentley's legendary six-cylinder, litre Le Mans Speed Six is blessed with the advantage of hindsight projected.
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