While there are a number of venerated and pedigreed automotive marques, there are precious few whose emergence was more decisive or whose history is more storied than that of Bentley. Founded in 1919 by W.O. Bentley, the company’s road-going production cars made distinguished appearances in early hill climb events, at the Indianapolis 500 in 1922, and achieved no fewer than five first place finishes at the 24 hours of Le Man between 1924 and 1930. In fact, in 1929 alone, Bentley held the first four finishing positions at the formative Circuit de la Sarthe.
Bentley’s early reputation was no doubt solidified with such victories as those achieved by their workhorse 3 Litre cars, however it was the image conjured by their luxurious 8 Litre convertibles introduced in 1930 that established the brand as we most readily identify it today. And among their contemporary offerings, there may be none which so strongly resonate with those precepts of size, comfort, ride, and appointment established by the celebrated 8 Litre, as does the Bentley Azure convertible today.
Finished in Windsor blue over a stunning Magnolia interior, this 2008 Bentley has just a touch over 1,400 miles since new. It is a one-owner car that has been garage-kept, detailed regularly, and pampered as one would expect. The interior is appointed in twin stitched Magnolia hide with Windsor blue secondary hides. The dash is finished in the Windsor Blue hides as is the Tonneau surface. Addition interior options include drilled aluminum foot pedals, Madrona Veneer finishes, recessed Bentley badges in the waistrails and a veneered cruise control switch. Optioned exterior appointments include bright stainless steel matrix insert to inlet apertures, chromed mirror door caps, lower front LeMans Series vents and a Chrome radiator shell with the stainless steel matrix grid. The car is stunning and the color combination is classic.
The Azure mimics visual characteristics of the Bentley Mk.6 from 1946 and Bentley’s designers also highlighted features of the 1955 Park Ward S1 Drophead Coup%uFFFD. Like the ’50s convertible, the car has a deep body with a single feature line that runs along both flanks and rises at the powerful rear haunches before spearing off at the rear of the car. Similarly, the Azure’s fast and flowing roofline is echoed in its seven-bow canvas roof that gives the car a visible sporting profile when raised.
The power of the 2008 Bentley Azure comes from the hand-built Bentley turbocharged V8 making 450 hp (340 kW) and 645 ft lbf (875 Nm) of torque. Volkswagen funded a significant re-working of the engine in 2001 to modernize it, including a switch from the old single-turbo system to a modern twin-turbocharger setup, reducing turbo-lag and increasing horsepower output. A new model-specific 6-speed automatic transmission feeds power to the rear wheels.
Bentley claims a 0 to 60 mile-per-hour time of 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 168 mph (270 km/h), slightly faster than the previous edition and still very good for a vehicle of this size and weight.
Prominent wheel arches grace a slender, narrowing boot that results in a ‘horse shoe’ trailing edge. This elegant shape is reminiscent of the first Crewe-built Bentley, the Mark 6, and the overall effect is a subtle hint at the power and performance that lies beneath the Azure’s bodywork.
For a driving experience that will appeal to equally to your right-foot and your refined sensibilities, look no further than this well cared for Bentley Azure Convertible.