Frankfurt Preview: Bentley Continental GT Series 51

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

Along with the official debut of the highly-anticipated Mulsanne flagship, Bentley will also unveil a new “Continental Series 51” limited edition version of the GT and GTC at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

“The Series 51 Continental models represent Bentley exterior and interior styling at its most vibrant and will enable customers to order ‘off the peg’ from an exclusive range created by Dirk van Braeckel’s renowned team of Crewe-based designers,” said Bentley in a press release.

Series 51 models will come with three-tone interiors as well as an available two-tone exterior paint scheme. The first of the series will debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show on September 15th with an interior made up of Imperial Blue leather, Linen seat and door inserts with Newmarket Tan leather accents.

Additional bespoke items include “Series 51” kickplates, special “Engine Spin” aluminum accents, Amboyna veneer wood and special 14-spoke 20-inch wheels.

GALLERY: Bentley Continental GT and GTC Series 51

Official release after the jump:



(10 September, 2009. Crewe, England) — Bentley Motors will preview an exciting new design direction for the company’s Continental GT and GTC models at the 2009 Frankfurt Show. The Series 51 Continental models represent Bentley exterior and interior styling at its most vibrant and will enable customers to order ‘off the peg’ from an exclusive range created 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 the gifted 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 creative application of contrast stitching and piping. The first example of their work will be 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 treadplates.

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 wings.

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.

Detailed information about all of the available three-tone interior designs and further additional options and accessories are available at The new Series 51 models can be ordered from 1st September 2009.

The Tenure of John Blatchley

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 Bentley.

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 created 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 marque.

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 and created by the Colour and Trim department ensures that every Bentley customer has the ability to create a bespoke design.

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