American car collector Bruce McCaw’s Bentley Speed Six “Blue Train” drove away with four awards at the recent Schloss Bensberg Classics concours d’elegance near Cologne, Germany, where it was declared best of show by the judges and by public vote, and won best pre-war closed model and the Style of Speed award.
“The four awards won by the Bentley ‘Blue Train’ at this prestigious event prove once again that this car is one of the most legendary vehicles of all times,” Robert Engstler, regional director of Bentley Europe, said in a news release.
Eighty-five years ago, Bentley Motors chairman, Capt. Woolf Barnato, was staying in Cannes, France, and accepted a bet that he couldn’t beat the Calais-Mediterranée Express (or “Blue Train”) back to Calais, France. Barnato not only accepted that bet but said he would be at his club in London before the train arrived at the English Channel.
Barnato won and, according to Bentley, “the remarkable victory has resonated with Bentley enthusiasts ever since.”
Although the car that was believed to have accomplished the feat was the iconic Gurney Nutting two-door fastback coupe, Bentley notes that recent evidence suggests Barnato drove his Mulliner saloon-bodied Speed 6, not the fastback coupe. Regardless, the coupe became known as the Blue Train car.
To commemorate this feat, Bentley Motors has produced a limited edition Mulsanne Speed “Blue Train,” a car built “by the skilled craftsmen and women of Bentley’s bespoke coachbuilding division, Mulliner.”
Each of the new cars includes historical references of design details from the original Speed Six, such as the fluting pattern in the door panels and the rear quarter inserts echo the interior of Barnato’s car, and the grille has a square mesh design inspired by original Speed Six.