September 2019 GLOBAL NEWS


Pre-War Racer To Be Reverse Engineered…

Bentley regards Sir Tim Birkin’s supercharged Team Blower race car to be the company’s “most revered heritage car” ever. So much so, that it now plans to build 12 replicas with help from Bentley’s Mulliner Coachworks Division.

Bentley has announced that it will build 12 replicas of Sir Tim Birkin’s iconic 1929 supercharged 4-1/2 liter “Blower” Bentley, which raced at Le Mans. Only four of the original pre-war chassis were built in the late 1920s. The new replicas—to be nearly identical to the original—will be built with the help of some reverse engineering by Bentley’s Mulliner Coachworks Division.

Bentley has been celebrating its heritage throughout the year. To mark the centenary of the brand’s founding, the company has unveiled several unique vehicles, including the EXP 100 GT autonomous electric concept and the third-generation Flying Spur. And Bentley is confident Mulliner can take on the complex task of rebuilding the legendary Team Blower.

To tackle the project, Bentley will disassemble the Team Blower chassis down to its nuts and bolts. Parts will be cataloged and each piece will be 3D scanned to create the foundation for the new cars. By combining the original 1920s molds and tooling jigs with modern manufacturing methods, the new cars will be as close to identical to the original car as possible—with the exception of some modern-day safety features. The project is expected to take two years to complete.


Award Recognizes Contributions To The Industry…

The International Carwash Association (ICA) Distinguished Achievement Award was recently presented to Suzanne Huisman of Belgium’s car wash association (BBRV) and Brian Madderson of the UK’s Car Wash Association (CWA). The award is presented in recognition of unique and exemplary contributions to the car wash industry.  The awards ceremony took place during the Car Wash Show Europe, held at De Kromhouthal, an exhibition center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

According to the announcement, Belgian and UK markets have been plagued with illegal hand-wash locations, many of which were involved in tax fraud and unsafe working conditions. Thanks to Huisman and Madderson’s leadership, their associations played a key role in bringing these issues to the attention of authorities and in improving conditions for workers and communities.

In the UK, the CWA was instrumental in helping to create the Safe Car Wash App, which allows customers to report questionable situations at illicit hand washes. Using the aggregated data, CWA was able to bring the issue to attention of the government and gain national awareness, which has resulted in local authorities cracking down on illegal operations.

In Belgium, the BBRV has been vigorously pursuing the same issue, championing regulations to block illegal car wash sites and educating both operators and consumers about the ongoing violations. Under Huisman’s leadership, the BBRV is developing a certification program to recognize professional car washes and help customers to identify them. Huisman is also an advocate of reducing car washes’ environmental footprint.

Suzanne Huisman of Belgium’s car wash association (BBRV) and Brian Madderson of the UK’s Car Wash Association (CWA) were honored with ICA’s Distinguished Achievement Award during the Car Wash Show Europe. Shown here L-R: Richard Enning, ICA president, Huisman, Madderson, and Eric Wulf, ICA CEO.


Facility To Produce Brand’s Performance Hybrid Vehicle…

Volvo’s affiliated luxury electric-vehicle maker Polestar has opened its first dedicated brand production plant in Chengdu, China. The automaker, owned by China’s Greely, said it will produce the brand’s new performance hybrid built on a carbon-fiber chassis at the new production plant.

Five hundred Polestar 1 cars are planned to be built per year in the new Chengdu facility, with a total of 1,500 planned over a three-year production cycle. The Chengdu plant will produce the vehicles for both domestic and global markets, with the first customer deliveries expected before year’s end.

In designing the new production facility, the brand aims to achieve gold status in the globally recognized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings. The Scandinavian-influenced architecture and design includes a customer experience center complete with a test track and glazed atrium with a panoramic view overlooking the factory floor.

“Here in Chengdu, we are not only manufacturing a premium hybrid-electric performance car,” said Thomas Ingenlath, CEO of Polestar. “We have also created an inspirational manufacturing environment, a great place to work and visit. It truly reflects the Polestar brand.”

The edgy-looking Polestar plant in Chengdu, China, is slated to produce 1,500 hybrid-electric performance cars during a three-year production cycle.


1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Takes Top Honors…

This knockout 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 GS Fastback Coupé won the Best of Show trophy at the 14th Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance. First owned by a Mr. Fayolle, known as the “Zipper King” of France. Look closely—a string of horizontal chrome strips above the headlamps and on the front of the hood pays tribute to his nickname.

More than 25,000 guests flocked to the 14th annual Salon Privé. Held on the manicured grounds of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England, in early September, spectators were treated to displays of some of the rarest and most exquisite and extravagant motor cars.

This year, 57 cars—16 of them international entries—plus 18 motorcycles were judged by an expert team during the Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance by Chubb Insurance. The star-studded Concours was comprised of three motorcycle and 13 car classes, including Pre-War Touring, Pre-War Sports Racers, Competition Cars, Ferrari GTs. Post-War Touring, Classics of the Future pre-2000, among others—all competing for the prestigious best of show, best of show runners-up and honorary awards.

Taking top honors with the esteemed Best of Show trophy was the stunning 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Fastback Coupe with Figoni coachwork. Commissioned in 1948 by a Mr. Fayolle, commonly known as the “Zipper King” of France, the car made its debut at the 1949 Paris Salon. The car was later relocated to California, where it remained in storage for nearly 50 years. The T26 returned to Europe in 2015, where a full ground-up restoration was undertaken to restore the car to the precise specifications ordered by Mr. Fayolle in 1948.

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