Revealed: new Bentley is a 333km/h love letter to the company's past
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Bentley is celebrating it's centenary year - and to mark the occasion it has released 100 limited edition Continental GTs inspired by its greatest ever racing legend.
The 333km/h Bentley Continental GT Number 9 Edition pays tribute to the supercharged 4½ litre Blower Bentley race car driven to victory by Sir Henry Ralph Stanley ‘Tim’ Birkin - one of the original Bentley Boys of the 1920s and 30s.
The limited edition cars were unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show on Monday evening, with confirmation that each one will be hand-crafted by the firm’s bespoke arm Mulliner to celebrate one of the Crewe-based car firm’s finest hours on the track.
And as if imbued at its heart with an automotive holy relic of the era, each model features a wooden insert from the seat of his original Le Mans race car.
Available in two exterior colours - Viridian green or Beluga black - other sophisticated touches include heritage hides, echoing those found in the original cars, an exclusive British Jaeger dashboard clock inspired by 1930 dials, 18K gold-plated ‘organ stop’ style knobs like the ones in vintage racers, and treadplates bearing the vehicle number from 1 of 100.
Each model also has 21 inch, 10-spoke wheels and the option of a Blackline carbon bodykit, both of which are exclusive to these special edition cars.
Bentley said: ’The imposing green car has since become the iconic racing Bentley of the pre-war years.’
A spokesman for Bentley, which employs 4,000 people at Crewe, explained: ‘Birkin was a Bentley customer, investor and a racing driver, full of entrepreneurial spirit and ambition – and through the determined collaboration of man and machine, the 4 ½ litre Blower was born.
‘Number 9 was the supercharged Bentley Blower Sir Tim raced at the 1930 Le Mans 24 Hours. He commissioned the production of a series of 4 ½ Litre Bentleys, powered by a supercharger developed with independent engineer Amherst Villiers.’
The effect of the Blower supercharger was to increase power from around 110bhp to 175bhp.
That has nothing on this 100-run commemorative Continental GT.
Powered by a turbocharged W12 petrol engine, the special edition will sprint from rest to 96km/h in 3.6 seconds, has a top speed of 333km/h and a grand touring range of 800km.
Bentley said: ‘The Number 9 Edition by Mulliner is distinguished by No.9 badgework and a bold, matching front grille graphic.’
Inside customers have the choice of Cumbrian Green or Beluga heritage hides, with increased gloss to the seats, inner door panel and other areas.
Special ‘B’ logos adorn the seat headrests and door panels as they did the door pads of the 1930 Blower.
The dashboard features a special finish called Engine Spin – sometimes known as Turned Aluminium - which was a popular racing car and aviation finish in the 1920s and 30s as it limited light reflection.
The centre console is enhanced by an exclusive British Jaeger clock face inspired by the original No. 9 Blower’s dials and using the same traditional manufacturing methods of race car dials from the vintage era.
The three-face Toblerone-style rotating display on the dashboard has been enhanced with a Bentley Blower tweak.
The new Number 9 Edition is part of a series of Bentley’s Centenary Celebration events leading up to 100th anniversary on 10 July - the date the founder Walter Owen ‘W.O.’ Bentley pledged to build ‘a fast car, a good car, the best in its class’.
Bentley noted: ‘That principle has remained at the heart of Bentley’s vision ever since.'
- Daily Mail