One-off Bentley Continental GT Azure Created As Tribute To R Type Continental

Specially created as a tribute to a significant model

A 70-year old Bentley with the registration JAS 949 has been a special car among Bentley models. It was one of only 208 units of the R Type Continental ever built – but the car had a greater impact than the limited numbers suggest. Quoted as ‘a modern magic carpet which annihilates great distances’, the R-Type Continental was the fastest 4-seat luxury sedan in the world when it debuted in 1952.

The first owner of JAS 949 was a Dr. Rowland Guenin in Switzerland, who received his car 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.

In 2001, Bentley acquired JAS 949 and made it one of the models in the company’s 43-car Heritage Collection kept at the Heritage Garage in Crewe, where Bentley has its factory. It has been well maintained with the patina preserved and the car is driven on the road on a regular basis.

One-off model
As a tribute to this significant model, the new Continental GT Azure has been curated as a unique and one-off model, celebrating the elegance and timeless design directly descended from the R-Type Continental.

Using Mulliner’s Personal Commissioning Guide to recreate the closest specification for the modern interpretation of JAS 949, the Continental GT V8 Azure has been hand painted in Old English White. This is 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 rolled on 16-inch wheels, today’s Continental GT has 22-inch hand-finished wheels, in a black and polished finish as per the original.

Original colours
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 renowned craftsmanship, cross banding inlays are still available today. Reflecting the interior details of JAS 949, the cross banding of the Continental GT 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.

The Original R-Type Continental
The development of the R-Type Continental in the 1950s set a template that continues to inspire Bentley designers. To keep down to the target weight, coachbuilders HJ Mulliner crafted the bodywork, window frames, windscreen surround, backlight, seat frames and bumpers in aluminium. Even at a lower weight, tyre choice was critical; no standard road tyre existed which could carry a 2-ton car at speeds in excess of 185 km/h, and Dunlop Medium Distance Track tyres were specified.

The power of the 4566 cc, 6-cylinder in-line engine was raised from 140 to 153 bhp. It had a pushrod overhead inlet, side exhaust valve design, cast iron block, aluminium cylinder head and Zenith downdraft carburettor. The transmission was given a higher final drive ratio.