Mulliner has outdone itself once again.
Bentley Mulliner has created a one-off Continental GT Azure that's inspired by a car right out of Bentley's own collection: a 1953 R-Type Continental, JAS 949. The new Continental was created in celebration of JAS 949's 70th birthday as a celebration of one of the greatest icons in Bentley's history.
The new model will join Bentley's press fleet, and to commemorate the moment, Bentley has photographed the two cars at the Battersea Power Station, which is itself a 50's icon that has seen a complete revitalization and rebranding in recent years. It is a fitting and elegant recreation, with this new Continental sure to be one of the first of many Mulliner creations to come this year.
When launched in 1952, the R-Type Continental was the fastest four-seat luxury saloon in the world, and was even called "a modern magic carpet which annihilates great distances." The car had quite an impact even though only 208 examples were made. The car's famous design, with the power line from the front wheels that travels to the rear haunches and the roofline itself, was all used as inspiration for the original Continental in 2003 and every model since.
JAS 949 was first delivered to Dr. Rowland Guenin of Switzerland in December 1953. It was specced in Ivory paint over a red interior with a manual gearbox still seen here, and of course, it came with the powerful 4.6-liter inline-six that produced about 155 horsepower. It was reacquired by Bentley in 2001 and has been regularly maintained and driven ever since at its home at the Heritage Garage on Bentley's campus in Crewe.
To create this new homage Continental GT Azure, the vehicle was painted in Old English White, a solid recreation of the heritage paint that dates back to the 1950s. The car was then fitted with bright chrome all across, including the grille, and is sitting on 22" hand-finished wheels with a black and polished metal finish.
In the interior, Cricket Ball leather is used throughout to give a classic feel that is close in color to the JAS 949, with hand-applied Beluga leather adding accents to the seats. The Burr Walnut veneer has been left with an open pore finish. The wood has three ultra-thin layers of lacquer, measuring only a minuscule 0.1mm in thickness, that has been hand applied and sanded to almost perfectly match the patinated finish in the JAS 949.
But of course, Bentley didn't stop there. To reflect the rest of the wood accents in the original model, the new Azure also utilizes cross-banded Australian straight-grain veneer with a boxwood inlay which is then overlaid in a rich gold color. To bring it all together, the silhouette of JAS 949 has been added to the fascia veneer and interior treadplates to finish it out.
If you don't know what half of that means, that's okay, because you can just let the gorgeous interior pictures speak for themselves. The car is a work of art and the use of a Continental GT Azure as the base will only enhance the driving experience. Even though this vehicle will stay in Bentley's private collection, these Mulliner creations are vital for a company that made record profits last year, so this is probably an elegant attempt to get more rich people's imaginations running.