Bentley Motors Japan
The 70th anniversary of the birth of a famous car celebrated with a modern interpretation
(Crew, 25 January 2023) Bentley Motors has taken inspiration from Bentley’s iconic R-Type Continental, the JAS 949, to create a unique, one-off Continental GT Azure.
The new Continental GT marks the 70th anniversary of the birth of the JAS 949 and honors one of the key style icons in Bentley’s history. The JAS 949 was one of only 208 R-Type Continentals ever built, but the car had a far greater impact than its limited numbers could have predicted. Beautiful Bentleys, old and new, were photographed at Battersea Power Station in South London, a London landmark that brought a 1950s icon into the 21st century.
When it was launched in 1952, the R-Type Continental boasted the world’s fastest four-seat luxury saloon. The car’s three main design lines – the powerline from the front wheels, the rear haunch and the roofline – were the inspiration for the first Continental GT in 2003 and all Continental GTs since. The newest member of the Continental GT family, the Azure, maintains the elegance and timeless design that is a direct descendant of the R-type Continental, while focusing on comfort at the wheel.
Using Mulliner’s Personal Commissioning Guide, the new Continental GT Azul pays homage to one of the most iconic cars in Bentley’s 43-car Heritage collection. The JAS 949 is a Bentley-owned R-Type
Continental, housed in the newly opened Heritage Garage on Bentley’s carbon-neutral campus in Crewe. Bentley acquired JAS 949 in 2001 and has preserved its history while maintaining good mechanical condition. This car is regularly driven on public roads.
JAS 949 was handed over in December 1953 to its first owner, Dr. Roland Gueinin of Switzerland. The ivory and red interior, manual gearbox specification, and the original 4.6 liter engine have been handed down to this day.
In keeping with the closest JAS 949 specification to a modern day, the new Continental GT V8 Azure is hand painted in Old English White, a true 1950s paint color. While the JAS949 has 16-inch wheels, the new model is equipped with 22-inch hand-finished wheels with a black and polished finish, just like the original.
Inside the beautiful cabin, cricket ball leather provides a
comfortable, deep and richly traditional feel for driver and passenger, recreating the same hue as the JAS949 hide color. The seats are accented with hand-piping in beluga leather to keep the design lines within the cabin.
In addition, the open-pore bar walnut achieves a texture close to the patent finish of JAS 949, giving it a contemporary look. The open pore panels are handpicked from the best materials available and coated with 3 layers of lacquer, just 0.1mm thick. Bentley’s high-gloss lacquer is 0.5mm thick and has a glossy and smooth finish. Each layer is hand applied and sanded between applications to ensure the lacquer adheres to the wood’s natural grooves. The result is a waxy finish that perfectly highlights the natural color and texture of the wood. Due to Bentley’s craftsmanship, crossbanding inlays are still available today. Reflecting the interior details of the JAS 949, the crossbanding of the new Continental GT Azul is made from Australian straight grain wood with boxwood inlays, complemented by rich gold Bentley Mulliner overlays. R-Type Continental silhouettes are applied to the fascia panels and interior treadplates to complete the cabin. Development of the first generation R-Type Continental
The brainchild of Chief Project Engineer Ivan Everden and Chief Stylist John Blatchley, the R-Type Continental has become a template that continues to inspire Bentley designers.
Two pre-war coachbuilt specials, the ‘Embilicos’ Bentley and the Corniche, showed the benefits of improved aerodynamics. In the early 1950s, Ivan Everden took inspiration from these one-offs to create a sleek coupé based on the R-Type Bentley Saloon.
The power output of the 4,566cc in-line six-cylinder engine was boosted from 140bhp to 153bhp, and the transmission had a higher final drive ratio. The prototype OLG 490 (nicknamed Olga) averaged 118.75 mph (best lap just under 120 mph) over five laps at the Monréheri, a banked circuit near Paris.
To hit the target weight, coachbuilder HJ Mulliner made the bodywork, window frames, windscreen surrounds, backlighting, seat frames and bumpers out of aluminium. There is no standard road tire that can drive a 2-ton car at 115 miles per hour, so Dunlop medium-distance truck tires were used.
The first production model was delivered to the owner in June 1952, and 208 R-Type Continentals were built by the end of production in 1955. 193 of them had bodies built by HJ Mulliner. Other models include Park Ward (4 Dropheads, 2 Coupes), Flanay (5), Grabber (3) and Farina (1).
Recreating a modern magic carpet
The new Continental GT Azul is designed to enhance occupant wellbeing and comfort, making every journey a relaxing experience, regardless of distance.
Seating is the cornerstone of driving comfort and control, and all Bentley Azur come standard with the Front Seat Comfort Specification. This specification includes a six-programmable massage function, adjustable side bolsters, electronic seatbelt adjustment and a comfortable headrest to constantly encourage the micro-adjustments of muscles and posture essential to prevent fatigue. I’m here.
Another key element of the Continental GT Azul is the Bentley Dynamic Ride. Bentley’s 48V Active Anti-Roll Control system enhances ride comfort and limits roll for a smoother, more relaxed journey. The system electronically decouples the anti-roll bars when necessary to smooth the ride, and when cornering, it applies up to 1300Nm of anti-roll torque in 0.3 seconds to keep the car parallel and keep the driver and passengers out of control. protects against violent rolls. The Continental GT Azul also comes standard with touring
specifications, including driver assistance systems, giving the driver a sense of confidence and relaxed control, regardless of traffic or weather conditions. Adaptive cruise control* maintains a constant following distance from the vehicle ahead, slows down (and stops if necessary) to match the vehicle ahead, and resumes the set speed when the lane clears. Along with Lane Assist*, Traffic Assist* and Bentley Safeguard, Bentley’s suite of radar and camera systems constantly monitors the surrounding traffic and road and intervenes when necessary to prevent or avoid an accident. is possible.
The relaxed atmosphere of the Azure cabin reduces driver fatigue and enhances vehicle safety through sensory and scientifically informed design. Studies have shown that fatigue is involved in 20% of traffic accidents.
Night vision, which uses an infrared camera to identify pedestrians, cyclists and animals outside the range of the LED headlights, further enhances the driver’s relaxed driving experience.
history of sophistication
Bentley has always stood out among automotive brands for performance and sophistication. In the early days, when the Bentley Boys were winning at Brooklands and Le Mans in striking racing green cars, founder W.O. Bentley was all about smoothness and sophistication. “I’ve put up with a lot of noise in my life, but I don’t like noise,” he wrote in his autobiography. It’s a lot more reliable than going 80 mph,” he added. Today’s Bentley Azure can go 150 mph quieter than the 70 mph that a W.O. Bentley would have experienced.
The new Continental GT Azul now joins Bentley’s UK press fleet and will be on loan to the media along with the opportunity to drive the JAS 949.
Iconic filming locations for iconic grand tourers
Battersea Power Station has been an iconic London landmark for over 90 years. Construction began in the late 1920s, and by 1955, Power Station B and the landmark fourth chimney were completed, providing one-fifth as much electricity as London at peak times. After its success at Le Mans in the 1920s and the establishment of a factory in Crewes, Bentley Motors grew and developed in the 1950s with the introduction of the iconic R-Type Continental.
Battersea Power Station was decommissioned in 1983 and lay dormant for nearly 30 years, but in 2012 a consortium of Malaysian companies purchased the land and made this legendary London landmark and surrounding area one of the world’s most inspiring revitalized as a modern and innovative mixed-use district. Today, Battersea Power Station is a new neighborhood for everyone, with a mix of shops, bars, restaurants, leisure facilities, residences and public spaces, with more to come.
This district is the perfect place to photograph the new Continental GT Azul and JAS 949 together, both the car and the location embodying the best of the 1950s and modern times.
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Bentley Motors Japan