Green w/Magnolia interior. 6.75 liter/385hp, 4-spd. automatic transmission.
The Azure made its debut in March 1995 at the Geneva Motor Show on the platform of the Continental R model, which had been originally launched in 1991. Production only crept to a start, with a mere nine examples finished in the first year – in 1996, after full production had started, no less than 251 cars were finished. Pininfarina assisted in the two-year process of turning the Continental R into a full four-seater convertible, and also built the shell and soft-top at their factory in Italy, largely from parts sourced in the UK. Final assembly was then carried out at Crewe. A roll-bar was never considered, which necessitated extensive reinforcing of the chassis. At 210″ in length and 5,750 lbs. in weight, the Azure often surprised onlookers with its size and bulk, intended to both convey a sense of “presence” and allow for comfortable seating of four adult passengers.
Power came from the company’s stalwart 6.75-litre V8, featuring a single, intercooler Garrett turbocharger and rated in the region of 360hp – Rolls-Royce and Bentley did not yet give official power numbers at the time of the Azure’s introduction. By the time production began in earnest, a new engine management system from Zytek meant a slight power increase to 385hp at 4,000 rpm. Power was routed to the rear wheels via a modified, GM sourced, four-speed 4L80-E automatic transmission. With a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 150 mph, the Azure was very fast for a car of its size, weight.
Owing to the limited space and workforce at Bentley’s Crewe factory, the Azure’s electrically powered convertible top made from thick fabric was designed and manufactured by Pininfarina, which significantly added to the vehicle’s cost. New in 1995, the Azure was priced at GB£215,167 – GB£22,590 more than the Continental R on which it was based.
From 1999 until the end of production, the Azure was also available in “Mulliner” trim, which added special bespoke trim and additional equipment and allowed the buyer the option for further customization during the build-process; pricing varied by car, as equipment could be significantly different from one to the next depending on customer requests.
One of only 150 Azures built in ’99, this outstanding, low miles example came out of the collection of one of the most distinguished families in the U.S. It’s been expertly cared for and features a very fitting and beautiful color combination of British Racing Green w/Magnolia interior.