70th Birthday of Famous Heritage Car
- Historic specification based on Bentley’s own R-Type Continental – JAS 949 – on its 70th birthday - Recreated through the use of Mulliner’s Personal Commissioning Guide – the doorway for unlimited personalisation - Heritage paint, luxurious rich interior and finished with unique crafted cross banding and bespoke inlays - 70 years of craftsmanship, design and innovation span the two coupés - Continental GT Azure offers wellness and comfort to provide a modern magic carpet - New model joins Bentley’s UK press fleet - Iconic Grand Tourer photographed at an iconic location
Fri Mar 03 2023
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 is in honour of JAS 949’s 70th birthday, celebrating one of the important style icons in Bentley’s history. JAS 949 is one of only 208 examples of the R Type Continental ever built – but the car had a greater impact than the limited numbers suggest. The beautiful Bentleys old and new have been photographed at an equally spectacular London landmark that is itself a 21st century reinvention of a 1950s icon – Battersea Power Station in south London.
Quoted as ‘a modern magic carpet which annihilates great distances’ the R-Type Continental was the fastest four-seat luxury saloon in the world when launched in 1952. 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. The latest Azure members of the Continental GT family continue to celebrate elegance and timeless design, directly descended from the R-Type Continental, while adding a focus on wellbeing behind the wheel.
Using Mulliner’s Personal Commissioning Guide, the new Continental GT Azure has been curated in homage to one of the most iconic members of Bentley’s 43-car Heritage Collection. JAS 949 is Bentley’s own R-Type Continental, and resides in the newly opened Heritage Garage at Bentley’s carbon-neutral campus in Crewe. Bentley acquired JAS 949 in 2001 and has maintained it in excellent mechanical order while sympathetically preserving its patina. The car is driven on the road on a regular basis. JAS 949 was delivered to its first owner, Dr Rowland Guenin of Switzerland, in December 1953. It was ordered in Ivory with a Red interior and a manual gearbox, a specification it retains today along with the original 4.6-litre engine.
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. Inside the beautiful cabin, Cricket Ball leather can be seen throughout providing a cosseting, deep and rich heritage feel for the driver and passengers and mirroring the hide colour of JAS 949. To provide contrast and to preserve the design lines of the cabin, hand-applied piping in Beluga leather brings accents to the seats
Through Bentley’s revered craftsmanship, cross banding inlays are still available today. Reflecting the interior details of JAS 949, the cross banding of the new Continental GT Azure uses Australian straight grain veneer with a boxwood inlay, enhanced with a Bentley Mulliner overlay in a rich gold. The finishing touches of the silhouette of the R-Type Continental have been added to the fascia veneer and interior treadplates to complete the cabin.