Bentley celebrates Flying Spur milestone

40,000th unit rolls off the assembly line

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Flying Spur
The 40,000th Bentley Flying Spur reaches the final inspection station on the assembly line at Crewe, England | Bentley Motors photos

British automaker Bentley is celebrating not only the new and third-generation of its Flying Spur model but the fact that since the model’s introduction in 2005, the company has produced 40,000 of what it calls “the best car in the world.”

Originally called the Continental Flying Spur, the 4-door luxury car “has consistently delivered a perfect fusion of performance-orientated agility and exclusive four-door, limousine-style comfort,” Bentley said.

“Each one of the 40,000 cars manufactured has spent more than 100 hours on a dedicated production line where a 250-strong team meticulously assemble every Flying Spur by hand. 

“Once finished and subjected to hundreds of quality checks, the car is shipped to its discerning owner in one of the 68 different countries Bentley operates.”

The three generations of the Flying Spur

Bentley also revealed that over the course of the 15 years of production, half of those 40,000 Flying Spurs have gone to customers in China or the Americas. Another 10 percent have remained in the UK with the rest going to Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions.

The company also shared the story of the model’s name. 

Back in 1952, Bentley designer J.P. Blatchley and engineer Ivan Evernden launched a project to restore Bentley as a producer of the best grand touring vehicles. They based their project around the company’s 4.9-liter straight-6 engine and their sleek R-Type Continental coupe was an instant classic.

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Original ‘Flying Spur’ was a special edition by Hulliner

Coachbuilder H.J. Mulliner saw a market for a limited-production model based on the Bentley S1 Continental sedan that followed the R-Type. Arthur Talbot Johnstone, Mulliner’s managing director, named the car the S1 Continental Flying Spur in honor of the illustration on his Clan Johnstone of the Scottinh Borders family crest. The first of the Mulliner Flying Spur cars even had a spur mascot on its grille.

Mulliner would produce 217 examples of the S1 Continental Flying Spur before the straight-6 was replaced by a V8 and the Flying Spur lineup expanded to include a coupe and convertible. 

Flying Spur production continued into 1965; the model name was revived 40 years later as the 4-door version of the Continental GT coupe, and now powered — and to speeds of 194 mph — by a W12 engine and with all-wheel drive.

In 2013, a second-generation of the new Flying Spur was launched without Continental nomenclature.  

The newest Flying Spur on the road

And now, “The third iteration of the Flying Spur is writing a completely new chapter in the history of Bentley four-door Grand Touring,” the company said. “Not content with simply building on the two-door Continental GT, Bentley has redesigned the all-new Flying Spur from the ground up so that it stands alone as the ultimate embodiment of luxury, refinement and performance.”

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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