From Bentley’s very earliest days, open-top cars have been an intrinsic part of the company’s heritage. Over the decades that followed many revered convertible or ‘drophead’ models were created, both by notable Bentley coachbuilders such as Mulliner, Park Ward, and later ‘in-house’ at the company’s Crewe headquarters.
From the 1955 Park Ward S1 Drophead Coupé, through the later Corniche and Continental eras, up to the magnificent Azure of 1995, an entire portfolio of unashamedly glamorous and wonderfully desirable cars meant that Bentley retained its reputation as the creator of the world’s most elegant convertibles.
Now that reputation has grown once more with the unveiling of the new Bentley Arnage Drophead Coupé show car at the 2005 Los Angeles Auto Show. It is a true four-seater convertible for the 21st century: a unique blend of classic Bentley design and craftsmanship married to a high-technology platform sourced from the 2005 Model Year Arnage. As such, it is the perfect natural successor to the Bentley Azure, whose eight-year lifespan cemented the marque’s status as the prime provider of four-seater convertibles to this sector of the market.
The design is unmistakably Bentley – it shares the same front end as the current Arnage range and its platform ensures it seats four adults in complete comfort. But it is also unmistakably unique. The entire cabin and rear section of the car are newly designed, with a stunning new interior that has been influenced by contemporary furniture design.
The Arnage Drophead Coupé show car is more than just a conceptual design study, however. Its unveiling in Los Angeles represents the culmination of a truly innovative development programme that means the car is entirely production viable, as Bentley’s chairman Dr Franz-Josef Paefgen explains:
‘If customer demand is there, it could go into production within a very short space of time – as early as Spring 2006.’
Price this car:
MSRP: $211,990 – $242,990
Invoice: not available yet
Source: Bentley Press Release