When word first reached us that Bentley was planning a special edition model to celebrate its 100th anniversary, we excitedly speculated on what exactly that could mean. In the end, though, our jaded, cynical minds settled on the reality that it would likely be nothing more than, "a Continental GT with a few unique trim pieces, a smattering of 'special edition' badges and a number painted on the grille."
That, surprise surprise, is essentially what we've got. The Continental GT Number 9 Edition by Mulliner will be limited to 100 cars - for obvious reasons - and pays homage to Bentleys of yore. In particular it singles out the 4 1/2 Litre Bentley 'Blower' of Sir Henry Birkin, one of the original Bentley Boys, which raced at Le Mans in 1930.
To that end each example features the number 9 badging of that car, as well as a wood insert taken from the seat of his Le Mans racer within the rotating display. There are heritage hides for the interior which "echo those found in cars from the Bentley Boy era" and 18K gold plated organ stops reminiscent of those found in the vintage machine. To wrap things up each of the hundred special editions receives a period-style turned aluminium centre console, replete with a British Jaeger dash clock inspired by dials from 1930.
Available in either Viridian Green or Beluga black, they will all, of course, be immaculately appointed, sublimely finished and fantastic to drive, but it's hard to avoid a slight feeling of disappointment. A century is an incredibly significant anniversary, after all, a once in a lifetime opportunity for a company with Bentley's history, standing and resources to create something truly memorable. This, in comparison, feels a little safe. Still, if anyone at Crewe offered, we wouldn't say no...