Even a Le Mans Winner Isn't Immune to the Charms of a Blower Bentley

Illustration for article titled Even a Le Mans Winner Isn't Immune to the Charms of a Blower Bentley

One might imagine that the winningest driver in Le Mans history, the unique Tom Kristensen, would be bored by many automotive experiences. After having taken nine class wins at the French 24 hour classic, including an overall win in 2003 with Bentley, however, he still cracks a huge smile behind the wheel of a ninety year old Blower Bentley. It’s a little reassuring that even driving crazy four-wheeled space ships doesn’t inoculate Mister Le Mans to the Bentley’s awesomeness.


The famed “worlds fastest lorry” is an incredible car for its time. This open top tank of a machine would run up to nearly 140 miles per hour in the 1930s. There are cars built today that won’t do 140 miles per hour. And even some of the ones that do, I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to take them there.

The O.G. Bentley Boys must have worn very loose pants to race these chunky beasts around Brooklands or Le Mans in their day. The racing Bentleys were fitted with 4 1/2 liter engines producing 240 horsepower with a namesake supercharger slung out front directly bolted to the crankshaft. With that kind of power, the brakes and headlights simply couldn’t keep up, and driving at night was a pure act of bravery.

It’s great that cars like this still exist, and are still loved and cared for. Despite whatever monetary value it may carry, this big bruiser Bentley is still out there doing big bruiser Bentley things. If I were given a chance behind the wheel, I might just try to drive it a little faster than TK did in this video, though.

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.


Can’t wait for Goodwood.