The Bentley Continental Flying Star is a project started by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera in 2008, when a private collector commissioned the creation of shooting brake based on the Bentley Continental model.
The Italian coachbuilder had already explored the shooting-brake theme in 1966 with the Lamborghini Flying Star II prototype.
The development team decided to use the Bentley GTC convertible as the basis for the new car, given its very rigid platform.
The new project required the modification of a number of external dimensions starting from the car’s A-pillar backwards: extended roof line, a wider section including the doors, new aluminium door skins and a new all-aluminium, electrically operated tailgate.
It also includes a completely new rear compartment with two foldable rear seats and a variable loading space.
|The Lamborghini Flying Star II prototype (1966)|
The project went through 1:4 and 1:1 modelling, based on the CAD and CATIA data from the basic vehicle. This digital basis resulted in a milled 1:1 master model and a number of 1:1 moulds for the manufacturing of the new external skin, and for important new body com- ponents.
The design team was led by Belgian designer Louis de Fabribeckers.
The rear bodywork was reinforced with an integrated structure between the rear suspension domes, functioning both as roll bar, and as support for the new, extended roofline.
All structural additions and modifications were thoroughly studied, using advanced simulation methods and FEM-analysis.
As a parallel process, these data served for the homologation of the structural changes, including the new foldable rear seats. An important number of hard points from the basic car could be saved and carried-over.
Touring Superleggera will undertake a limited production run of up to 20 units of the Continental Flying Star. This series will be exclusively built to special order and customer specifications.
The car is offered at a basic price of € 590.000 when based on a Continental GTC – 560 PS. Other versions on request.
The car will be serviced at the Bentley dealers. The customers are actively involved in the early stage to choose the specifications of their own unique automobile, ranging from bespoke cabinetry and trim to a wide choice of dedicated options.
The accessory collection includes the Touring designed luggage set coordinated with the boot trim, and the distinctive Borrani X-Ray spoke wheels.
From the official Press Release:
‘Variations on a theme’ not rarely implicate a larger design challenge, than starting-off with a white sheet of paper. The basic mission was to create a body incorporating the essence of Touring elegance and harmony, while clearly recognizable as a Bentley.
This task was chal- lenging because a fully new volume had to be added to the GTC basis. The proportions were totally new, but the overall design had to be kept consistent. That is why only the section in front of the car’s A-pillar, including the windshield has been maintained.
Viewed from the rear, the new tailgate dives between the wide rear wings. The oval rear light chrome bezels are a reference to Bentley fastback cars of the ‘50. The side view features a low roof, promi- nent quarter panel shoulders and wide wheel arches, suggesting perfectly mastered energy.
The Touring Superleggera designers were challenged by the target to give the new interior equal elegance, whether the back of the rear seats are folded or not. The solution was to design an “S” shaped trim of the rear quarter panels linking the passenger area to the rear luggage area. The beige and dark green leather contrast also adds to this visual unity.
First time ever in this class and size, the twin individual rear seats fold completely to create a flat loading surface more than 2m long with 1200lt capacity. This is instrumental to fulfill the functional mission profile, which requires loading in full comfort a wide array of leisure equip- ment, including 4 full golfing bags with the rear seats up. An example of bespoke finish is the woven leather boot carpet offering superior endurance and coordinated with the special luggage set.
The overall result is perfectly in line with the Touring and Flying Star heritage: a timeless shape, a design statement combining elegance and sportiveness, with a strong and unmistakable own personality and individuality.
From the A-pillar backwards, new exterior body panels were hand-shaped in steel – including the roof, new wider rear wings, and the internal reinforcements of the complete rear section of the car.
The all new rear compartment required shaping of the foldable rear seats and a full set of inte- rior panels, leather trimmed with meticulous care. Wide leather hides were selected with great attention to provide uniform finish to the vast continuous surfaces.
After inspection, the body in white was prepared and painted in the Touring state-of-the-art paint facilities. The final result underwent again a special final quality audit.
The Bentley Continental Flying Star by Touring inherits the chassis of the Continental GTC. The 6-liter, W12 engine is available either in the 560HP version which delivers 650NM of torque at 1600rpm or the GTC Speed variant which delivers a massive 750Nm from 610HP. The car exhibited in Geneva Motor Show features the GCT Speed specifications.
Performance braking, cornering and traction functions mesh together to provide precise and immediate driving control under extreme or difficult conditions. Self-adjusting air springs and electronic dampers operate independently for each wheel. All- wheel drive promotes advanced traction.
About Louis de Fabribeckers
Responsible for the design team of the Flying Star project is the 32 years young Belgian designer Louis de Fabribeckers. Graduated from the ISD of Valenciennes in France in Engineering Design, de Fabribeckers started to work with Touring in 2006 as project leader.
Under his hands, the Maserati based Bellagio and A8GCS Berlinetta projects materialized; the first one being a fastback, 5-door version of the Quattroporte model, and the second a mag- nificent concept for a light and compact, modern sports car. Both new projects were present- ed at the occasion of the 2008 Villa d’Este Concours d’Elégance.
(Source: Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera)