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Car of the Month - July 2017
Bentley Mark VI Cresta, 1951, #B167JN
Fastback Saloon by Facel Metallon
The designation 'Cresta' was coined neither by Walter Sleator (manager
of Franco Britannic, Rolls–Royce’ major dealership in Paris) nor by Jean
Daninos (owner of coachbuilder Facel Metallon) or Battista Pinin Farina
(the designer of the Fastback Saloon).
Indeed W.A. Robotham – a manager from Rolls-Royce – in his book Silver
Ghosts and Silver Dawn described: "I would have liked to see the Bentley
with a name, rather than a series of rather soulless Mark number, and
registered the names 'Corniche' and 'Cresta'..." This statement - on
Derby Bentleys made prior to World War II - from a 1970 publication by
W.A. Robotham is proof that in 1936 the names were registered.Actually
in 1970 Robotham critized in no uncertain terms "...Vauxhall were given
the use of the name Cresta"!
The designation was not 'reserved' so to speak for the fastback saloons
because there was an advert by Hooper & Co. during the final stage of
World War II that they intended to build a 'Cresta'.
hEven nowadays only cognoscenti are fully aware which sort of motor car
is meant when the term 'Cresta' is used. This is based perhaps to a
certain degree on the fact that only some 10 such cars had been built
(although some sources state that up to 17 had been made). The company
had arranged for a brochure on the 'Cresta - and that was on the
Fastback coupé produced by Facel Metallon in France to a design by Pinin
The 'missing link' between the Bentley's streamline project 'Corniche'
from the pre-war period and the company’s impressive 'Continental'
from 1952 no doubt has been the 'Cresta'. Hence Davide Bassoli did very
well to describe that model in his new book
Continental Journeys that is devoted to the fabulous Bentley
Continental R-Type and S-Series built during the 50s and 60s.