As its 100th anniversary approached, Bentley marked it by disclosing its plans to mark the milestone by creating a trio of cars in ultra-limited editions for buyers with an appreciation of history. The first two, the Bentley Mulsanne W.O. Edition and the Continental GT Number 9 Edition, started the program off. This week, Bentley unveiled the last of the trio, the Continental GT Number 1 Edition by Mulliner. It’s extremely pricey – an exact total wasn’t immediately disclosed – and absolutely exclusive for those discriminating enough to join the club.
The Number 1 Edition is limited to just 100 examples for sale worldwide. See the subdued number one in the center of the grille? It’s intended to evoke the first of the great Blower Bentleys, the huge supercharged roadsters that ran consistently up front during international long-distance races beginning in the late 1920s. It’s a direct salute to the original supercharged 4.5-liter Bentley, Number 1, which set a lap record of 137 MPH at England’s sprawling Brooklands oval in 1932, driven by Tim Birkin, one of the original squad of “Bentley Boys” that made up the Crewe marque’s team of works drivers. Based on the Continental GT, the limited edition makes use of a 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W-12 for motivation, connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission with dual clutches. It’s available in the buyer’s choice of either Dragon Red II or Beluga as a finishing color, complete with 18-carat gold fender badging. As a nod to history, the Bentley Rotating Display in the instrument cluster features a tiny wheel spinner that’s reminiscent of the ones that held old Number 1’s wheels in place as it thundered across the uneven concrete banking at Brooklands.