Bentley Continental gains a "Series 51" version
30th September, 2009
Bentley Motors previewed an exciting new design direction
for the company’s Continental GT and GTC models at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The Continental Series 51 models represent Bentley exterior and interior styling at its most vibrant
and will enable customers to order ‘off the peg’ from an exclusive selection arranged by Dirk van
Braeckel’s renowned team of Crewe-based designers.
Series 51 is named after the year that the first official styling department was established in Crewe
by John Blatchley, who shaped the original and iconic 1950s Bentley Continentals. Every Series 51 car will
feature a highly-distinctive interior colour palette and unique exterior design cues.
Bentley’s Colour and Trim team, managed by Melinda-June Jenkins, have designed some bespoke three-tone
interiors which demonstrate the full potential of leather hide colours and showcase the thoughtful
application of contrast stitching and piping. The first example of their work was the Continental GTC
displayed at Frankfurt which features Imperial Blue as a main and secondary hide, Linen seat and door
inserts and Newmarket Tan as the accent colour.
Series 51 cars will also feature several unique interior details including the use of non-indented
hide for diamond quilting, contrast piping for the seats and doors as well as bespoke Series 51
Bentley’s designers have also selected a range of premium-quality materials for the dashboard and
centre console to complement the three-tone interiors. The Dark and Bright ‘Engine Spin’ aluminium
options provide a striking contrast with darker and lighter hide colour choices and a special,
limited-edition Amboyna veneer reserved for Series 51.
A belief that even the smallest detail presents an opportunity to delight and surprise customers has
always be a key element of the Bentley design story. Series 51 follows this principle, where even the
overmats and boot carpets are now colour matched and given contrast binding.
Both the Continental GT and GTC offer a powerful road presence and the Series 51 cars further
accentuate these sporting credentials with some eye-catching exterior styling. A 20” 14-spoke polished
Diamond wheel with a dark centre cap provides Series 51 cars with a purposeful and stylish appearance.
The cars will be further distinguished by a signature ‘51’ badge on the front guards.
To further enhance and personalise the Continental GT a new two-tone paint can be commissioned which
complements the contrasting interior configuration. This highly distinctive colour split (with one
colour running over the bonnet, roof and flowing down to the boot) is a classic design used on many
sporting Bentleys of the past.
The new Series 51 models are available now for order.
About John Blatchley and Bentley Design
John Blatchley’s gift for design was recognised from the very outset of his career. Just a few years
after graduating from the Regent Street Polytechnic, and still only in his early twenties, Blatchley
was heading the styling team at the renowned London coachbuilder Gurney Nutting. His striking and often
flamboyant work for Gurney Nutting’s customers would in turn see him recruited by Rolls-Royce and
Blatchley quickly established himself at Crewe and was renowned for the quality and realism of his
water colour renderings, line drawings and wax models. His reputation for being able to turn his hand to
any complex or bespoke design task was well-founded - he designed a royal crest for Princess Margaret’s
car over the course of just one weekend.
During an 18 year period as the company’s Chief Stylist, Blatchley would design some of Bentley’s
most iconic post-war models including the MK6, R-type Continental, the S-series and T Series – cars
renowned for effortlessly blending the sporting and prestige styling cues associated with the Bentley
Today the Bentley Design team, led by Dirk van Braeckel, continues to use original hand sketches to
shape a new generation of Crewe-built cars like the new Mulsanne and Continental Supersports and John
Blatchley’s original design language is still a source of much inspiration. The almost unlimited palette
of interior and exterior colours sourced by the Colour and Trim department ensures that every Bentley
customer has the ability to originate a bespoke design.