The Napier-Bentley

When land meets air, strange things usually happens. This is the case of the Napier-Bentley, a once off race-car built  in 1968 by David Llewellyn and Peter Morley. Based on a 1928 8 litre Bentley chassis, the Napier-Bentley stop about there when it comes to normality.

Normality, even in those days, would be say a 8 litre supercharged 12 cylinder setup. Even by those standards, the Napier Bentley is overkill. Here’s why.

It pushes about 550Bhp, and generates an earth moving 1695Nm of Torque. That is about 2.5 times as much as an F10 series BMW M5, or, in other words, enough to rip your face off, shatter your ribs, and crush your spleen. The power comes from a 24 litre W12 Napier Lion engine, in short, and aircraft enine, the same that powered the Fokker D. Xiii, a air speed record holder of the time, and used presumably during WW1.

It’s no wonder that Napier-Bentley seems at its happiest when it’s smoking its tires going around tight corners, and the sound it makes when lifting off the go-pedal sounds like a firing squad.

The unique red body carries a Napier-Railton-esque grille (Between 1933 and 1937 the Napier-Railton broke 47 World speed records at Brooklands, Montlhéry and Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah), a strange exhaust setup, and a warning on the bonnet saying; “The Ultimate Laxative”

It also entertains the crowds by spitting huge plumes of fire while idling. (Starts spitting at 0.50seconds)

What makes this 2nd owner car so special is the fact that it’s not a museum piece. It is being raced extensively around the UK and some part of Europe, and even with that, the top part of the engine has never been removed in 22 years.

But talking about this remarkable machine does not help. It has to be seen and for your enjoyment, here is the Video!

 

To me this Napier-Bentley is a true symbol of passion. Yes, there are quite a lot of cars being powered by old Aircraft engines, and yes, there are better cars in the same exclusive club. But the Napier-Bentley has to be the one that makes you wonder what the hell happened to building something amazing in your garage.

All images and videos belong to their rightful owners, and credit goes to them

 

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Juan Loubser

I am an old fashioned 30 year balding, ham fisted egghead, with a love for mechanical engineering, Victorian era architecture. There was always something about cars, and up to this day I cannot put my finger on it, the easiest way to explain it would be to like it to something you just understand, you get it, you don’t know why or how, but it’s something you've understood all your life. With Torquesteer I have created a couple of Goals. One is to tour the little market town of Todmorden, England in a MG B roadster, and the Second is to do the US route 66 in true american muscle style. Driving a Tesla is also on the list.

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