Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week, Bentley is bringing the 1929 Team Blower back with a continuation run, Volkswagen introduces first production ID electric model for Europe and announces rebranding effort, Hyundai shows off more of their fun side with i30 N Project C, BMW makes a really ugly concept again, and we talked about the new Land Rover Defender a lot.
1929 Bentley Team Blower Continuation Series
What better way to kick off a week of auto show news coverage than by talking about a 90-year-old car first. Bentley is getting in on the continuation trend with the first pre-war car to be brought back to life. And what a car they’ve chosen.
Bentley’s classic car specialists at Mulliner are taking a stab at Sir Tim Birkin’s legendary 4½-litre Blower. Four of these race cars were built originally and campaigned throughout Europe and were considered the fastest cars of their day. It broke new grounds by gaining power from a newly developed roots-type supercharger developed by Amherst Villiers while others were simply increasing engine size. The 4½-litre’s output was nearly doubled to 240 horsepower in race tune because of it. 55 of these supercharged cars were produced and a handful were reserved for competition use. One of the cars remains in Bentley’s possession and will be quite literally cloned for 12 “new” continuation models.
Bentley’s own Team Blower – chassis number HB 3403 – will be disassembled down to its individual components. This is where Bentley’s Mulliner workshop comes in. As they carefully take everything apart, a team will be cataloging every piece and digitally scanning them. They’ll be creating a complete 3D model of the entire car as they go, working piece by piece. Then, using the original 1920s moulds and tooling jigs alongside modern technology, 12 sets of parts will be created and assembled into new Blowers. Bentley says all 12 will be identical mechanically, aesthetically, and spiritually with only minimal hidden changes for modern safety concerns. The original car will then be lovingly pieced back together with restorations taking place as needed.
Powering each of the continuation cars is the exact same motor that made such an impression back in the day. It’ll have the same four cylinders, 16 valves, aluminum crankcase with cast iron cylinder liners, non-detachable cast-iron cylinder heads, everything. Crucially, it will feature an exact replica of the Amherst Villiers Mk IV roots-type supercharger mounted in front of the engine. It’ll even have the same power output of 240 horsepower at 4,200 RPM.
The faithful recreating doesn’t end with the body and the engine either. The car’s structure will be a pressed steel frame with half-elliptic leaf springs along with recreated Bentley & Draper dampers. Stopping suggestions come from recreations of Bentley-Perrot 17.75″ mechanical drum brakes. Steering is handled by a worm and sector setup, which I definitely didn’t just have to Google.
Since everything is hand-built, it will take them 2 years to complete all 12 of the continuation models. And since every number has some kind of significance on cars like this, they got 12 models from the number of races the original cars were entered in. Pricing is only available to those who are brave/rich/elite enough to even fill out an application.
Volkswagen ID.3 and Company Rebranding
Volkswagen has been readying their all-electric ID sub-brand for the last couple of years with various concepts to build the hype and gauge customer reactions. After single-handedly ruining the diesel market for pretty much everyone, they’ve been committed to this whole EV thing and are taking a monumental next step with the first production-ready ID model – the ID.3 hatchback.
Small problem though, it’s not coming to America because our car buying public just feels a little safer being higher up off the ground. We’ll get ours soon enough, most likely the ID.4 crossover, which will be exactly like this but a little taller and therefore much safer. Therefore it’s still worth paying attention to this little Golf-sized ID.3 because it sets the tone for upcoming ID models that the rest of us will eventually see.
The ID.3 will be available with three battery options, a 45-kWh, 58-kWh, and range-topping 77-kWh. Estimated driving ranges (on the WLTP cycle) are 205 miles, 261 miles, and an impressive 342 miles respectively. No matter which battery pack you opt for, they’re all mounted in the floor thanks to VW’s new electric MEB platform, which all ID models will be built upon. A single permanent-magnet synchronous motor sits on the rear axle – don’t be surprised to see dual-motor AWD offered on other ID models in the future.
The flat battery of course allows for an uncluttered interior which happens to look delightfully simple. That philosophy extends to the car’s exterior – it’s just a clean design that doesn’t stand out very much. For first-time EV buyers, it’s a compelling mainstream option with a proper service network and 80 years of experience backing you up. For people looking to upgrade from an early Leaf, Volt, etc, it’s a chance to get something newer and more advanced along with a nice bump in driving range. Even though America doesn’t buy hatchbacks anymore, I still feel this would sell really well over here. Spend one day counting all the Bolts, Leafs, and Model 3s in California and a case can be made. We’ll see something from the ID sub-brand on this side of the Atlantic in a year or two though.
And you may have already noticed it, but Volkswagen debuted a new logo to go along with this new chapter of company history. As they look ahead to a future of electric cars, they hope a new logo can further distance themselves from their recent history where they systematically cheated on emissions standards and landed some of their executives and engineers in jail (meanwhile, GM’s faulty ignition switch kills 124 people and a dozen employees just get fired – hefty fines and settlements followed, but nobody faced criminal charges). The new logo retains the stacked “VW” in a circle look but is two-dimensional and thinner. It’s about what you’d expect from a new logo in 2019. Just different enough but still recognizable, and it only took 17 external agencies and 19 internal teams to come up with it. The logo launches on the ID.3 first and will almost certainly be illuminated at some point.
Hyundai i30 N Project C
In case there was still doubt that Hyundai’s new N performance brand was the real deal, the i30 N Project C should put that to rest. It’s a limited-run, European only version of the impressive i30 N that holds nothing back. It’s lighter, lower, and more aggressive and is meant for the most demanding driver. While the i30 N was meant to be a fast and fun yet still practical and comfortable hatchback, the Project C leans a little harder to the fast and fun side.
The Project C’s most noticeable unique specifications include visible carbon-fiber reinforced plastic body parts. It gains a new front splitter, rear diffuser, hood, and side sills, resulting in a very sporty but still-not-as-loud-as-the-Civic-Type-R appearance. It’s all either functional downforce or there purely for weight reduction too. The CFRP panels lighten the load by around 17 pounds alone, but they didn’t leave it at that. They also replaced the front seats with Sabelt competition bucket seats with CFRP backings for a net weight loss of 33 pounds and swapped out the wheels for forged OZ Racing wheels for a 48.5-pound reduction. With all that plus a few other small tweaks, like swapping steel knuckles for ones made of aluminum, the Project C weighs 110 pounds less than the i30 N its based on.
If a 271-horsepower, 3,075-pound, six-speed manual-equipped, lowered, and sharpened hatchback sounds interesting to you and you’re also in Europe, jump in line because only 600 of these are being produced. Pricing is not available yet.
BMW Concept 4
In all the years I’ve been covering BMW, rarely has a production car greatly differed from the concept. Usually what we see in concept form from BMW is quite similar to what we’ll see in production. This is one of those scenarios where I really hope I’m wrong in that assessment. Because holy shit this thing looks terrible. Like, yikes. I spent a few minutes trying to compare it to something and the best I can think of is it looks like Red Skull from The Avengers in car form. BMW…. please don’t. I know you will but please, just stop it. Get some help. We didn’t have this problem with Bangle.
Guys I’ve just thought of something pic.twitter.com/nbJlXtYj0a
— Greg Intense Driving Pleasure Kachadurian (@GregCKach) September 13, 2019
Other Coverage from the Week
In other news, apparently there was some new Land Rover that debuted this week as well. It’s called the Defender or something corny, but Kamil was pretty excited about it and wrote three articles on the thing. He summarized everything here, took a deep dive into the engine and chassis details here, then talked about the Lego model here. The rest of us also gave our worthless opinions here. And I’d also recommend reading through Kamil’s coverage of Toyota’s new GA-B platform because it’s the kind of technical deep dive that few others can write, and because we’re very likely to see it on a ton of new Toyotas very soon.
What’s Your Automotive News?
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.