Friday, 29 November 2013

Bentley Continental GTZ

Words & pictures - Daniel Bevis

The Conti GTZ sits in a unique niche; it's an overtly polarising thing, available to the sort of moneyed types that yearn for the halcyon days of custom coachbuilding but want to combine it with modern appointments, and will undoubtedly make the uninitiated question what the hell's happened to it. But if you're the sort of person who owns a GTZ, you won't care.

Spawned from a chinwag between Bentley CEO Dr. Ing. Franz Josef Paefgen and Dr. Andrea Zagato at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours, the idea was to take the then-boxfresh Continental and apply a bit of old-school Zagato flair for a lucky few - the gaping wire grille, the double-bubble roof, the works. Paefgen asked Zagato if the coachbuilder had ever built a Bentley. 'No,' came the answer. 'There was a Rolls-Royce in 1926, but never a Bentley.' And so the GTZ was spirited into being, debuting at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show.
As you might imagine, there aren't a lot of them about. A buyer would have to provide his own W12 Conti (new price at the time c.£137,500), and then leave it with Zagato for four months. Their modifications meant that only the headlights were carried over - everything else was altered. Total conversion cost? An additional £400,000, or thereabouts. So they only built nine of them.

To return to the original point, then, the spats and the two-tone won't be everyone's cup of tea. But sod the detractors - they didn't drop half a million quid on a Bentley...

Spotted at the St. James's Concours - click here for more photos.

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