It’s strange climbing into a brand new ninety year old car, especially when its near enough priceless grandfather is parked next to it. The new car doesn’t have the battle scars of the old – there’s time enough to accrue those – but were it not black (and the original green), you really could become momentarily confused about which one you were in.
Unless you were lucky enough to be doing the driving. In which case you’d have no problem at all because, in fact, they’re quite different and for a number of reasons. First the old car has only ever had one major restoration in its life, in the late 1950s when it belonged to the Sears family. It’s been maintained of course, but campaigned too, on several Mille Miglias, to name just one of the better known events at which its been seen. Ever since it was bought by Bentley around 20 years ago, it’s been a working car. So it’s beautifully loose, everything now fits everything else so it’s a remarkably easy car to drive, at least by vintage Bentley standards.
The new car is not like this because it’s, well, new. Brand new at the point I drove it. Nothing has had even half a chance to bed in. And as this is the first Bentley, this is the car on which Bentley will learn how not just to put it together, but how to tweak and hone it until it really does feel like factory-fresh 1930 Blower. Only then will they use it as a crib sheet for all the other cars.