Bentley Has Built 80,000 Continental GTs in 18 Years
If you’re looking for fine leathers and rich wood surfaces, look no further than a British coupe.
If you find yourself loaded with money and wishing to purchase a sporty GT layered with the finest leathers in the shire, England is always happy to help. Since 2003, one of the most popular options in this niche has come from Crewe, where Bentley has now built a whopping 80,000 Continental GTs so far. Fast cars with W12 and V8 engines in front of luxurious cabins featuring more stitches across their hides than a room full of ambitious BMX riders—that's what the GT is all about.
After three generations of this two-door success story, the 80,000th Continental ended up being a right-hand drive V8 finished in Orange Flame, with the optional Blackline and Styling specifications ticked as well. To celebrate the occasion, Bentley also rolled out its original 1952 Bentley R-Type Continental from the heritage fleet, the Mulliner-bodied coupé that was easily the fastest four-seater of its day with a top speed just shy of 120 mph.
Today, you can still choose a Continental Mulliner over the regular GTs, while Bentley's own collection from the last 18 years includes the very first production Continental GT VIN 0001, still a taxed-and-tested car on the fleet, a 621-horsepower Continental Supersports coupé, a second-generation V8 S coupe finished in Jetstream, and a current GT Convertible in Dragon Red. Those, you can't have.
What's for sure is that with an average production rate of 5,000 GTs per year, Bentley managed to reach a wider audience than ever before. However, 80,000 GTs out there and the discontinuation of the Mulsanne as a flagship also means that those looking for a touch more exclusivity are unlikely to be impressed by even the thickest of Mulliner catalogs.
Ignoring the fact that, on paper, there are now 17 billion GT configuration variations, these select few will look for design clues from Aston Martin, technology from Jaguar, and a folding picnic table that makes more sense than the $20,000 Viewing Suite option of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. They will land on wanting a Speedback GT by David Brown Automotive.
This one, the 11th car made since 2014 is heading to Germany, complete with a bottle of Tanqueray, a sufficient amount of tonic, and a pair of highball glasses. All that's now needed is some ice, if you can do without the garnish in your G&T.
Built on the old Jaguar XKR's all-aluminum platform, the rear-drive Speedback GT packs Jaguar's excellent 5.0-liter supercharged V8 tuned to 601 horsepower, and it takes 8,000+ hours to build by hand at the company's Silverstone headquarters.
Now ready for delivery, this highly customized German-market grand tourer is finished in Blue Moon with a black satin mesh grille, Elm Burr satinwood veneers, and "Tabak" tan leather interior. The customer also opted for the 19-inch wire wheels for the summer, the full winter kit, and most crucially, the drinks set housed underneath David Brown Automotive's signature picnic seat.
On the day of Bentley's 80,000 GT announcement, David Brown Automotive was happy to reveal to The Drive that they produce between three and five Speedback GTs a year, and for the rest of 2021, all available slots are sold. Personally, three to five seems a touch high to me considering that this blue one is supposed to be the 11th car finished in six years, yet at the end of the day, all that matters is that exclusivity is guaranteed.
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