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Bentley Continental GT Convertible Number 1 Edition: The ‘Blower’ Celebrates 100 Years

  • Limited edition model pays homage to the Bentley Blower of 1929 for the automaker’s 100th birthday.
  • Bespoke treatments include 18 carat gold-plated fender badging and “Number 1” painted front grille.
  • The Bentley Continental GT Convertible Number 1 Edition is limited to just 100 examples worldwide.

I was going to say having this beast painted red, even a rather fetching shade of red, is an affront to traditional British sensibilities. However, two things prevent me from saying that with the Bentley Continental GT Convertible Number 1 Edition. One, the original Bentley this pays tribute to was painted that color; and, two, if you typically get in a snit about that sort of thing, Bentley, now being owned and run by Germans, is more than snit-inducing enough for you.

That aside, this is rather a beast of a car.

What Is The Bentley Continental GT Convertible Number 1 Edition?

July 10th marks Bentley’s 100th year in the business of making cars. Big, fast, luxurious cars. Back then, they were faster than you’d expect, and these days, they are still faster than you’d expect. This particular car here, known as the Number 1 Edition, is a tribute to the first Bentley hotrod.

The new Number 1 Edition (which I am still ambivalent about, name-wise) draws its inspiration from the original No. 1 Blower, i.e. the thing had a supercharger about the size of a toilet tank hanging off the front end of its 4.5-liter engine. The original No. 1 Blower set the Outer Circuit record at Brooklands in 1932. How fast, you ask? An average of 137 mph, which is pretty surprising, given that most airplanes still had two wings back then. Yes, in case you’re wondering, it was driven by the legendary Bentley Boy Tim Birkin.

Power is amply-provided by an enhanced version of Bentley’s big 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 TSI engine. Said mill is mated to a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission. The bodywork is done up by Mulliner in Crewe, England, and the Bentley Rotating Display has a small wheel spinner, reminiscent of those found on the original No.1 set in resin, a nice touch.

That was then, and today, we have this fitting tribute: the Bentley Continental GT Convertible Number 1 Edition by Mulliner.

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Bentley Continental GT Convertible Number 1 Edition by Mulliner. Photo: Bentley Motors.

Merging Past & Present

The Bentley Continental GT Convertible Number 1 Edition by Mulliner – which you could call the CGTCN1EbM (if you were weird) – will be limited to only 100 examples. The Number 1 Edition is the last car in Bentley’s Centenary trilogy of specials, joining the Mulsanne W.O. Edition and the Continental GT Number 9 Edition.

In addition to the trick bits from the Bentley Black Line Specification and Carbon Body Kit, this Limited Edition comes in Dragon Red II or Beluga paint, with a Claret or Beluga folding top. Personally, go with the dark red color, just like original.

There is, of course, more stuff that ties the modern version with the original. This Number 1 Edition features the Bentley Centenary Specification Pack, including Centenary badges on the rear and wheel centers; gear lever and steering wheel; even the keyfob gets a Centenary badge. There’s a ginormous Number 1 painted on the grille (which is so choice), an 18 carat gold-plated fender badge, jeweled fuel filler and oil caps (because you’re rich), and big, stonking 22-inch MDS wheels in either Cricket Ball or Gloss Black.

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Photo: Bentley Motors.

Interior Treatments: Gold & Wood

On the inside, you will find a new color split of either Cricket Ball or Beluga complemented by Heritage hide on the seats and door pads. There’s a debossed B insignia on the headrests and door inserts. To answer your questions: no, I don’t know what color “Cricket Ball” is exactly; no I don’t know what color “Heritage hide” is either.

I do know debossed is the opposite of embossed, so I’m one out of three.

Welcoming you into this luxurious cabin is a special Number 1 tread-plate. The cabin is a literal forest’s worth of wood veneer with a Grand Black finish; plus 18 carat gold-plated organ stops, and an Alcantara steering wheel and gear lever. There’s a British Jaeger clock (Jaegers are British?) and a Turned Aluminum dashboard as a nod to the typical race car finish of the 1920s and ‘30s.

For you? Of course it is, if your bank account measures up.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle formatFollow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

Bentley Continental GT Convertible Number 1 Edition Gallery

Photos & Source: Bentley Motors.