Bentley has created a special collector’s version of the all-new Continental GT to celebrate the company’s centenary in 2019.
The “Number 9 Edition by Mulliner” is claimed to be “inspired by Bentley’s illustrious motorsport past” and just 100 examples will be hand-built by the British marque’s coach-building arm, Mulliner.
More specifically, the limited edition model has been created to pay homage to Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin – one of the original ‘Bentley Boys’ of the 1920s and ‘30s. Birkin was a Bentley customer, investor and a racing driver.
No.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. Power increased from around 110 bhp to 175 bhp with the supercharger installation. The green-coloured car has since become the famous racing Bentley of the pre-war years.
As such, the new Number 9 Edition by Mulliner is marked out by No.9 badgework and a prominent, matching front grille graphic. Customers will also have the option of either green or black exterior paint, with 21″, 10-spoke wheels also in the same colours.
Inside the car, there are either green or black hides, with increased gloss levels to the seats, inner door panel and other areas. Debossed ‘B’ logos feature on the seat headrests and door panels as they did the door pads of the 1930 ‘Blower’.
A bespoke dashboard features “Engine Spin” on the centre console. Often known as “Turned Aluminium”, Engine Spin was a popular racing car and aviation finish in the 1920s and ‘30s as it limited light reflection.
The centre console of the vehicle also features a custom clock face developed through a partnership between Mulliner and British Jaeger; the clock is inspired by the original No. 9 ‘Blower’s’ dials and is said to use the same traditional manufacturing methods of race car dials from the vintage era.
The Continental GT’s rotating display, meanwhile, has been modified to incorporate a Bentley ‘Blower’ artefact, namely, a wood insert from the actual seat of Birkin’s 1930 No. 9 Le Mans race car, which Bentley says was removed during a renovation. The back lit piece is set in resin and situated in the middle of the centre dial of the rotating display, adding a piece of history to each car.
Each of the 100 cars also features 18K gold plated organ stops inspired by those in the No.9 ‘Blower’ and ‘1 of 100’ treadplates.
Under the bonnet, the special edition sees no changes to the W12 TSI engine, which delivers a 0-to-60 mph time of 3.6 seconds as well as a top speed of 207 mph.