Lot 188

London 2016

2000 Bentley Azure


£78,400 GBP | Sold

United Kingdom | London, United Kingdom



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  • The ultimate Bentley convertible; a status symbol for a generation
  • Built for British tycoon Peter Shalson
  • Numerous bespoke features, detailed in factory build records
  • Ideal for sweeping along a winding corniche

400 bhp, 6,748 cc OHV turbocharged V-8 engine with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, computer-controlled independent front suspension with coil springs and wishbones, independent rear suspension with semi-trailing arms and coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 3,061 mm

Introduced in 1995 as the convertible version of the ground-breaking Continental R, the original Bentley Azure remained in production for eight years and came to define “conspicuous consumption” of the most delicious sort for a generation of enthusiasts. The Azure was for the man or woman who could afford the best that life had to offer, and it delivered. Priced at a then-astonishing $400,000 US, it carried four passengers in sumptuous comfort, surrounded by the finest thick English leather, genuine wool carpeting, and lush burled walnut trim. Most importantly, the Azure was a potent road-eater in the great British grand touring tradition. Acceleration from 0–100 km/h took 6.5 seconds, and the top speed was 214 km/h—figures which remain impressive today for a vast luxury convertible.

The Azure became beloved by celebrities and socialites worldwide. The particular car offered here was a special commission through respected London dealers H.R. Owen by the British tycoon Peter Shalson. Its factory build records, copies of which are on file, are fascinating reading, recounting the high level of detailed specification that went into the car. Its body was finished in special-order Caspian Blue with unique smooth English Tan leather upholstery and French Navy interior accents. Requests were made and met for a fitted Motorola car phone and charger, a Philips Carin navigational system, and an improved high-end audio system, as well as hidden compartments for CDs and “two small Evian mineral water bottles.” The high level of detail even included specifying the finish of the mounts for the side mirrors, adjusting the fit and height of the driver’s seat to suit the original owner, and removing the traditional Azure and Mulliner trim badges from the rear fascia.

Today the Azure remains in excellent original condition, showing 19,600 kilometres, which is consistent with its level of quality presentation throughout. A recent inspection showed the paintwork to be in beautiful order, while the interior shows only very minor cracking to the driver’s seat leather. In addition, the car is offered with its original hardbound owner’s manual. It remains sumptuous and utterly timeless, and it would still be the most elegant manner of arriving at the Casino de Monte-Carlo or simply sweeping along a winding mountain road to one’s villa—the exact purposes for which the Azure was created.