Bentley Marks 100th Anniversary With $256,000 Book

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Bentley’s celebrating its centenary this month, but rather than launch some dingus special edition, the automaker issued a promise that the all-new Flying Spur will redefine contemporary craftsmanship and luxury when it finally debuts. It’s also offering a limited run of extravagant books illustrating the brand’s history.

While the cheapest of these printed works will set you back £3,000 ($3,837), there will be a “100 Carat Edition” that costs £200,000 ($255,811) per copy. Weighing more than 66 pounds, the book comes laden with 100 carats of diamonds. At over 3 feet wide, and housing gatefolds that can double those dimensions, Bentley proudly proclaims the 800-page monstrosity as the “heaviest book ever produced” for an automotive brand. 

As if that wasn’t ridiculous enough, customers have the option to have their book customized in official Bentley leather — which can be matched to their own vehicle, if so desired. It even has a legitimate brand emblem on the front cover, regardless of whether or not you opt for the “cheap” version.

Bespoke touches don’t end there, however. Owners can have their own photographs included on certain pages of the book. The mid-tier Mulliner Edition, which costs £12,500 ($15,991), opens up the option to have those photographs professionally done by luxury publisher Opus for inclusion on their own editions, plus the ability to have owners’ names gilded in silver or gold on the cover. And, if that wasn’t enough, the book’s case even incorporates rubber from the front-left tire of the Speed 8 racing car that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2003.

The 100 Carat Edition seems to offer all of that and more. “More” being the ability to set that Bentley logo on the cover in either white gold or platinum. Limited to just seven examples, the ultra-expensive tome will be rarer than most of the brand’s cars. Meanwhile, the more affordable Mulliner and Centenary publications will be produced in higher volumes, at 100 and 500 copies, respectively.

The automaker says the Bentley Centenary Opus “is much more than a coffee table book.” We’re inclined to agree. Its dimensions, heft, and ludicrous value make it far more suitable for a bank vault than any coffee table we’re familiar with.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for the price tag and size, the book would probably make an excellent addition to any automotive enthusiast’s bookshelf. It looks like a treasure trove of automotive history, incorporating loads of design sketches, high-resolution imagery, and insider information about Bentley’s past.

[Images: Bentley; Opus]

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