Tag Archives: The Blue Train Bentley

Best of Show at the 2013 St. James’ Concours d’Elegance – The Blue Train Bentley

  • HRH Prince Michael of Kent drives the St James’s Concours of Elegance Best of Show winner, a  1930 Bentley Speed-Six Gurney Nutting Sportsman Coupé 

Owned by Bruce R. McCaw of Seattle,Washington, one of the world’s most famous vintage Bentleys won the St. James’ Concours of Elegance Best of Show award at the world class event held last weekend at St. James’ Palace in central London.

It’s Woolf Barnato’s Blue Train Bentley Speed Six. The name alone evokes images of high adventure experienced with elegant company in exotic locales. Add to that the sensuous and sinister appearance of the car itself and it is no wonder that this car has become one of the most recognizable of coachbuilt Bentleys.


For many years, the myth surrounding the car described a party in Cannes at which Barnato, himself a highly successful privateer sportsman racer,  contended that his Gurney-Nutting bodied car was faster than the crack Blue Train express between Cannes and Calais and to prove his point he set off the next day as the Blue Train left the station. The story goes that he crossed the channel the next day and arrived in London four minutes before the train was scheduled to arrive in Calais.


But extensive research efforts in recent years by Bruce and Jolene McCaw revealed that, while he indeed did beat the famous train’s time, he did so in another Speed Six, one sporting H. J. Mulliner coachwork and that he applied the nickname to this car acquired by him after the fact. It’s easy to imagine how the reputations of the two cars became conflated in the ensuing years, but to us, the confusion in no way diminishes either Barnato’s epic drive or the brutal elegance of our feature car today. It is one-of-a-kind, and truly deserving of all the accolades it has received. Today’s photos were provided to us by our friend Pavel Novitski whose fine work has graced The Old Motor many times in the past. You can also learn more about the St. James’ Concours of Elegance here. Look for more coverage in the next few days.

Just below you can learn the complete story of the W.O. or Vintage Bentley as they are referred to (pre Rolls-Royce ownership) in a fine video, Pulling Power: The Bentley Story, courtesy of  Stanley Mann Racing.

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