Bentley has created a one-off edition of its Continental GT to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its R-Type Continental.
The special Bentley Continental GT V8 Azure pays homage to the 50s icon with its Old English White exterior finish, bright chrome detailing, and 22-inch black polished wheels.
Burr Walnut open-pore veneer is applied liberally throughout the cabin and Cricket Ball leather featuring Beluga leather piped accents provide a faithful recreation of JAS 949, the original unit in Bentley’s reserves referred to by its number plate.
This model, originally owned by Dr Rowland Guenin of Switzerland, features Ivory paint and a red leather interior.
JAS 949 is one of only 208 units of the original R-Type Continental ever built and is part of the 43-car heritage collection that lives at Bentley’s Heritage Garage at its headquarters in Crewe.
As with the standard Continental GT Azure, the one-off features a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine producing 404kW of power and 770Nm of torque, sent to all four wheels through a ZF-sourced eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.
It has a top speed of 319km/h and can complete the 0 to 100km/h sprint in 4 seconds.
The R-Type Continental, in contrast, had a 4.6-litre inline six-cylinder engine producing 114kW of power through a four-speed close-ratio gearbox, that took the model from 0 to 100 km/h in 13.6 seconds.
Launched in 1953, the R-Type Continental was described as ‘a modern magic carpet which annihilates great distances’ and was the world’s fastest four-seat luxury saloon at the time with a top speed of 185km/h.
The design principles of the original R-Type Continental, such as the power line from the front wheel, the rear haunches, and the sloping roofline, have been built upon for every iteration of the Continental GT since its launch in 2003.
As in the Bentyaga, the latest generation Continental GT Azure is fitted with Bentley’s tech-loaded seats that have a massage function to provide ‘micro-adjustments in muscle and posture’ to prevent driver fatigue, as well as adjustable side bolsters, electric seatbelts, and comfort headrests.
The model also features Dynamic Ride, an active anti-roll control system that ensures a smooth journey by applying up to 1300Nm of anti-roll torque to prevent movement in the cabin.
The special Azure will be put to work on Bentley’s press fleet, with journalists also given access to JAS 949.