Geneva 2010: Bentley Continental Flying Star by Touring
Touring Superleggera’s shooting brake body, clothing the Bentley Continental GTC chassis, is a quite remarkable achievement. The model exhibited on Touring’s stand at Geneva was also a welcome reminder of the styling house’s heritage, recalling the Lamborghini-based Flying Star II prototype of 1966 in its two-door layout with extended interior space.
“The project began as a coincidence,” explained Paul Koot, VP of Carrozzeria Touring, to Classic Driver. “It already existed as a concept in the portfolio of Bentley when we were asked by a customer to create one. It would not have been possible without Bentley’s full support – which we have.”
There are now plans to make “about 20” of the elegantly functional car, each one tailored to the individual owner.
It was a brave decision to tackle such a design. “We were afraid it would have too much volume,” continued Koot, “but the result is a very compact car. It is no longer than the Continental GTC, but it is an inch wider. The important thing was to avoid making a car that looks like a hearse... and we are happy that we have succeeded. The car has muscle, and it has style.”
The project was carried out entirely in Milan, at the Touring Superleggera facilities, where state-of-the art computer-aided technologies were used alongside traditional Italian coach-building skills. “We were very glad to have a good team from Bentley working with us,” said Koot. “For example, there is a big spaghetti of wiring and also, while we were responsible for the trim, we had to meet the extremely high standards of Bentley in every detail – which can be very difficult. In technical terms, however, the biggest challenge was the tailgate.”
Under the leadership of 32-year-old Louis de Fabribeckers from Belgium, Touring’s Head of Design, the hand-crafted bodywork came to incorporate an all-alloy, electrically powered tailgate, plus steel rear wings, extended roof paneling and aluminum door skins. And for the first time ever in this class and size of vehicle, there are two completely individual rear seats, which can be folded to create a plain loading space more than 2m long.
The 6-litre, W12 engine can be specified in either in the 560HP version, or the 610HP GTC Speed variant. The price has not been announced but we were told that, including the new, donor car, it’s likely to be around 590,000 euros.
Our final question to Mr. Koot was about the future. Touring recently developed a fastback, 5-door version of the Maserati Quattroporte; what might we look forward to next? “I would like to see an Aston Martin Touring,” he replied, with a smile. So would we.
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