Bentley Arnage Blue Train

Prior to 2015’s Blue Train Limited Edition, which was a special edition for the Mulsanne, Bentley built the Arnage Blue Train Series.

The Race

Bentley was celebrating the 75th anniversary of the famous Blue Train race where Bentley backer, board member, and CEO Woolf Barnato raced the Blue Train, which was the fastest way to get from the South of France to Calias in Northern France.  From Calais, Londoners would take a ferry across the channel to reach London.

As the story goes, Barnato was a dinner party in Cannes in March 1930 when he boasted that he could not only beat the Blue Train to Calais, but that he would be at his London club before the Blue Train reached Calais.  His bet of £200 was accepted and Barnato set out the next day.

Barnato and his companion left Cannes at 5:45PM just as the Blue Train was departing.  They made arrangements to have several fuel depots to stay open though the night so they would be able to quickly refuel.  At 10:30 the next morning, their Bentley Speed Six reach Calais, having averaged 43.43mph.  This doesn’t sound fast by today’s standards, but on the rough, unlit roads of 1930, it was very impressive.

After crossing the English Channel in a packet steamer, Barnato drove his Speed Six hard towards London, finally reaching the Conservative Club in St. James Street in London.  The time was 3:20 in the afternoon.  4 minutes later, the Blue Train would pull into Calais.

The Car

This tale combined with Bentley’s Le Mans wins, helped cement the brand’s sporting lore.  75 years later, Bentley dedicated a special edition of the Arnage to honor the event.  Called the Arnage Blue Train Series, the cars were built for the American market and only 30 were made.

The cars were based of the Arnage T of the same year.  This meant it had the 6 3/4l twin-turbo V8 engine with 450 bhp and 645 lb ft of torque.  The big, luxury saloon could accelearate from 0-60 in 5.5 seconds.

The Blue Train Series was unique mostly from aesthetic changes over the regular Arnage.  The car rode on chrome 19″ wheels.  The Blue Train also had unique front and rear bumpers and six vertical slats were added to the front fender just behind the front tire as an homage to the original car’s body work.  Certain exterior features are chrome including the mirrors and the radiator grill surround. Lastly, the Bentley “B” logo is black, both inside and out for this model.

Inside the Blue Train, the instruments are also black and the center console and door sills car badging for the Blue Train.  The doors have additional wood veneered panels inlayed with a chrome Flying B badges.  The headrests feature Blue Train embroidery and the seats have contrasting blue piping.