The gradual evolution of the automobile has meant that different innovations have arrived at different times, and leaping back 90 years in automotive history makes for a strange combination of the familiar and the utterly alien. It's a point made spectacularly well by the Bentley Blower Continuation, a vehicle that manages the unique trick of possessing both a new-car smell and a genuine pre-war driving experience.
The Blower's dial-strewn dashboard seems to have been modeled on the mantelpiece of an English country manor, yet it houses both a tachometer and a speedometer—features that few cars had in 1930. It doesn't have a fuel gauge, however. A period Blower's owner—or, likely, their servant—would have checked the car's fuel level by simply gazing into its vast, 26.4-gallon tank. The Blower's floor-mounted gearshift is laid out in a conventional H pattern—top left for first gear, bottom right for fourth—although it is positioned awkwardly to the right of the right-hand driving position. The clutch pedal also is where your left foot expects to find it. But things get more archaic with the realization that this vintage of Bentley predates conventionally modern pedal positioning, what with its accelerator situated in the middle and the brake pedal on the right.
In short, Bentley has done what it promised when it announced it would build a run of 12 of its most famous cars. Beyond the lack of 90 years of wear, the Continuation is an exact facsimile of the original Blower. Jaguar kicked off the modern trend for factory-sanctioned continuation models in 2015 by producing seven lightweight E-types that the company had originally planned but never got around to making. Additional models have followed. Aston Martin also got in on the act with old-new versions of the DB4 GT, DB4 GT Zagato, and the James Bond-inspired DB5 Goldfinger.