Friday, February 27, 2015

An Exceptional Final Series Azure


The Bentley Azure was the last of the Crewe-designed and built cars.  They were derived in the 1990s from the Continental coupe, which was in turn spawned from the Turbo R, their most successful design of the modern era.  All of these cars were special, but the final series cars were “more special than others.”  The last cars had engines that were tuned for more power, beefed-up suspension, and huge Alcon racing brakes. The brakes alone would set you back upwards of $40k if purchased from the Bentley parts catalog.  They are what's left of a special performance run built for the Sultan of Brunei, and as vastly as they are his loss is your gain.  They say the Sultan paid millions for each of his prototypes.

The actual final series production cars had a number of little refinements that set them apart from their earlier Turbo and Azure brothers. Taken together, they make these cars really stand out when parked next to a stock Azure. In an exclusive world, these are as exclusive as you get.  Fewer than 25 of these vehicles came to North America.  The rest went to the Europe, Middle East and Asia.

The new (VW-designed) Bentley cars are true mass-produced products. They sell in far greater numbers than any earlier RR/B product, but to many enthusiasts, they lack the handmade feel.  This - in contrast - is the ultimate handmade car.  Every detail on it is unique. The engine is signed by the man who balanced and built it, and the wood is signed by the man who did the final finish.

The interiors were trimmed in special diamond-quilt leather and dark walnut woodwork. The car had unique aerodynamic trim, and air ducts on the hood and fenders. This particular car is dark blue metallic with light grey hides.   

We have had several of them through for service over the years, but this is probably the nicest one we have seen, and it’s likely the nicest example you will find anywhere.  It's been lovingly cared for in a multi-Bentley enthusiast's home.

Every Final Series Azure I’ve seen for sale is described as flawless.  Rather than repeat that same tired claim, I will list what was actually done in the past 12 months in the Robison Service shop.
  • All convertible top hydraulic lines have been replaced, and actuators rebuilt or replaced.  This is a major issue on these cars; it's needed on any car of this age, but seldom done when cars are for sale.
  • Brakes were overhauled, both the calipers and pads, and the hydraulics.  With the Alcon brakes this is an very expensive service that is also oft-delayed.
  • Suspension hydraulics also serviced, with new gas springs and fluid flush
  • Tires are new and correct.
  • Body and trim is undamaged by accidents and free of cosmetic flaws. We did repair two small dings, using the original Glasurit system paint and finish materials.
  • Interior is spotless with new Hilborn carpet mats and seats conditioned with Leatherique.  The wood and leather are as good as you will find in an original car.
  • Major service was completed last year and everything is up to date and working.
  • Relays and wiring are updated.

This car is truly ready to drive or show anywhere.  It is nice enough to place well in any show, right out of the box.  It’s complete with keys, mats, records, etc.  It’s available for inspection in Western Massachusetts and we can ship the car anywhere.

It’s truly one of a kind.  No disrespect intended to any other car, but this car is the only Azure you’re going to find that’s truly “all done.”  I’m pretty amazed its owner wants to sell, but people move on and change cars.  He’s looking for offers in the $120k range for a car that cost almost $400,000 new, and has covered under 10,000 miles in the last 11 years.

Feel free to call me at 413-785-1665 or email robison@robisonservice.com with any questions.


John Elder Robison