By Malusi Msomi
Bentley Motors has handcrafted a unique and one-off Continental GT Azure, inspired by Bentley’s retained example of the iconic R-Type Continental, JAS 949. The new Continental GT Azure is in honour of JAS 949’s 70th birthday, celebrating one of the important style icons in Bentley’s history. To mark the occasion, Bentley has photographed the beautiful Bentleys old and new at an equally spectacular London landmark that is itself a 21st century reinvention of a 1950s icon – Battersea Power Station in south London.
The R-Type Continental was the fastest four-seat luxury saloon in the world when launched in 1952 and was quoted as ‘a modern magic carpet which annihilates great distances’. The three key design lines of the car – the power line from the front wheel, the rear haunch and the roofline – were the inspiration for the first-generation Continental GT in 2003 and every Continental GT since.
To recreate the closest specification for the modern interpretation of JAS 949, a new Continental GT V8 Azure has been hand painted in Old English White – a faithful re-creation of the heritage paint colour that dates back to the 1950s. As per the muse, the Continental GT is fitted with bright chrome (including the matrix grille). While JAS 949 rides on 16” wheels, the newer version runs on 22” hand-finished wheels, in a black and polished finish as per the original.
Cricket Ball leather can be found throughout the beautiful cabin, providing a cossetting, deep and rich heritage feel for the driver and passengers and mirroring the hide colour of JAS 949. Hand-applied piping in Beluga leather accents the seats to provide contrast while maintaining the cabin’s design lines. To add a modern touch, the Burr Walnut veneer has been left open pore, providing a texture similar to the patinated finish in JAS 949. Open-pore veneer is painted with three ultra-thin layers of lacquer, totalling only 0.1 mm in thickness, and is selected from only the best, most figured stock available. By comparison, Bentley’s High Gloss lacquer coating is 0.5 mm thick and has a glossy, smooth finish. Each layer is applied by hand and sanded between applications, ensuring the lacquer sticks to the natural grooves of the wood. The resulting finish is wax-like and perfectly highlights the authentic, natural colour and texture of the wood species.
The new Continental GT Azure also focuses on enhancing the comfort and wellbeing of its occupants, featuring standard features such as a massage function, adjustable side bolsters, electric seatbelt adjustment and comfort headrests, and Bentley Dynamic Ride, an active anti-roll control system that enhances ride comfort and limits roll for smoother journeys. It also includes the Touring Specification with driver assistance systems, such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, Traffic Assist, and Bentley Safeguard, to provide a sense of confidence and relaxed control. The car also features a Head-up Display and Night Vision to enhance the driver’s safety and reduce fatigue.
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