Bentley Teases New, Racing-Inspired Model to Celebrate Its 100th Anniversary

Expect a reveal at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Bentley

Bentley announced Wednesday that it will reveal a celebratory centenary model in March at the Geneva Motor Show. And while details are scarce, there's a reason to believe it will be called the "Speed 9."

Said vehicle was described only as being inspired by one the company's "iconic racing models," without specifying which. Along with the announcement, Bentley released a short tease of the model's front end, which depicts a pan across its grille, where the number nine is displayed.

The video's audio track provides no clues about the vehicle, as no single 24 Hours of Le Mans race between 1923 and 1930—Bentley's halcyon Le Mans days—featured 60 entries. Instead, a possible hint at the vehicle that inspired this model can be found in the number on the teased vehicle's grille: nine. This numeral could suggest that the model will be named the Speed 9, in keeping with its past Speed 6 and Speed 8 race cars, both of which won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

One of the two years that the Speed 6 won at Le Mans was 1929, when Bentley locked down the top four finishing positions with one Speed 6 and three 4½ Litres. Fastest of these 4½ Litre cars was the number nine car, to which Bentley's celebratory model could pay tribute.

Alternatively, the hypothetical Speed 9 name may stem from Bentley's more recent Speed 8, which won at Le Mans in 2003. What little can be seen of the vehicle we'll call the Speed 9 doesn't suggest that the model will mimic the Speed 8's prototype shape, though this doesn't count out the possibility either. As disappointing as it would be, the model may turn out to be nothing more than a limited-edition Continental GT, though answers about the car will have to wait until the Geneva Motor Show starts on March 7.