Bentley Continental, Corniche and Azure

By Martin Bennett

Veloce, £40. ISBN: 1-901295-12-5

A comprehensive look at the elite post-war Bentley, this work comes up to the Azure and Continental T models, including the outrageous Carlo Talano special, which, barring the latest Sedanca Coupe, round off the all-British era of Bentley.

But what is welcome amongst all this is the amount of information on the early Continentals, particularly the illustrations and drawings of the ‘missing link’ between the unhappy-looking pre-war MkV Comiche and the `Comiche II’, which became the R-type Continental. The mechanical facts have been pretty well exposed before this, but Bennett includes much input from John Blatchley, Chief Stylist at Crewe from the 1940s to 1969, which is illuminating about the practicalities of styling and assembling the differing bodies fitted to Continental chassis by Crewe and outside coachbuilders.

Packed with drawings of styling variants and interior details, as well as many photographs, there is something to look at on every page, though the colour reproduction is variable. There are individual histories of the main Bentley coachbuilders, with pictures of their assembly, and shots of factory mock-ups and experiments I had not seen befoe. A useful single source with some interesting new information.