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9 October 2017

Weird Wagons: Bentley Continental Flying Star

By Tom WhiteTom White

This German pretending to be British while wearing Italian clothes is one hell of a fast wagon.

It was built back in 2010 as a project of Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera to meet the very specific desires of one of its customers, reportedly a Belgian billionaire who had a burning desire for a shooting-brake that Bentley just wasn't building.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could all just phone up a coachbuilder and get whatever we want? Wouldn't it be nice if we could all just phone up a coachbuilder and get whatever we want?

If you haven’t heard of Carrozzeria Touring, you might want to acquaint yourself. The brand once had significant time in the sun thanks to a special patented ‘Superleggera’ (super-light) construction method dating back to the 1930s. It was a series of shaped tubes covered by thin alloy bodywork. The method was licenced out to Aston Martin and contributed to the success of the DB4 and DB5. After forty years of hard times, the brand has been rebooted, and now makes slick bodies for amazing cars.

Needless to say, theres not much ‘Superlegerra’ about this massive Germanic-British-Italian wagon. With Bentley's overkill 6.0-litre W12 though, you could argue it doesn’t need to be light at all. 100km/h still arrives in 4.8 seconds from a standstill.

Not much has changed up here. Not much has changed up here.

To stay true to the original purpose of a ‘shooting brake’ the Flying Star is only available as a two door, and is so exclusive that most of the measurements are done in golf bags. For example, Carrozzeria Touring proudly state that you can fit no less than four full-size golf bags in the wagon back, even with the seats up. Which is convenient, because despite being over 4.8 meters long, this spicy cross-breed is still just a four-seater.

The perfect weekender, armed with a W12. The perfect weekender, armed with a W12.

The bodywork behind the A-pillar is largely carbon-fibre and is hand-shaped in Italy in a process that takes over 4000 hours to complete. It pays off though, this wagon really really looks the part. As though it could have been a Bentley model itself… Thankfully, unlike the Aston Martin Sportsman Estate, no corner-cutting Ford Taurus bits to offend your sensibilities are to be found here… Any parts that differ from the stock GTC inside are fitted fully bespoke and can be chosen by the buyer.

Hope you didn't need to see out the back, though. Hope you didn't need to see out the back, though.

We’re not sure where the rear-glass panel comes from. Perhaps it was also made just for this car, suffice to say, the vision out the back of this thing would probably be pretty awful.

It's about the drive, not who you take with you. It's about the drive, not who you take with you.

What’s the cost of the most golfin’-est Bentley we ever saw? In its ‘cheapest’ form Carrozzeria were asking the equivalent of AU$891,000. Woah. For reference, in 2011 when this vehicle was finally released, the base Bentley Continental GTC cost a mere $419,749.

The original production run was slated to be just 20 examples, all built to order, but as of a year after the car’s unveiling only two were up for sale, asking a massive US$1 million for each. Sadly, despite one landing as close as Singapore, it’s unlikely any of the units were produced in RHD.

Impressively, the seats fold fully flat giving 1200 litres of storage space. Impressively, the seats fold fully flat giving 1200 litres of storage space.

Does this Bentley shooting brake look the part? Tell us what you think in the comments.

This is part of a series on Weird Wagons - see more here:

Weird Wagons: Aston Martin V8 Sportsman Estate
Weird Wagons: Ferrari 456 Venice
Weird Wagons: Saab 900 Safari
Weird Wagons: Mercedes-Benz 300 Messwagen
Weird Wagons: Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX Wagon
Weird Wagons: Subaru Impreza Casa Blanca
Weird Wagons: Toyota Classic
Weird Wagons: Porsche 924 DP Cargo
Weird Wagons: Maserati Bellagio Fastback