Website last updated: 17-7-2024

Devil May Care (Bentley Motors Ltd Edition)

By: FSWL team
Devil May Care collectors edition
Bentley Motors designs limited collector's edition of the new Bond book - Devil May Care (2008) by Sebastain Faulks.

In a unique collaboration between three of Britain’s iconic brands – James Bond, Bentley Motors and Penguin Books - a special, limited edition of the new Bond book Devil May Care will be published on 28th May. Written by Sebastian Faulks at the invitation of Ian Fleming Publications to celebrate the Ian Fleming centenary, Devil May Care is one of the most eagerly anticipated publications of 2008.

Cars and James Bond have always had a strong association and, contrary to popular belief, Bond’s preference has historically been firmly with Bentley Motors. He owned three Bentleys in the course of the fourteen original novels written by Ian Fleming. It is fitting therefore that in Devil May Care - published to coincide with the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth - Bond is found once again in the driving seat of his favourite car.

To mark the reunion, Penguin approached Bentley to produce a luxury, limited edition of Devil May Care. The result is a beautiful and striking edition which takes its inspiration from hard-covers of the original 1950s and 1960s Bond books combined with the stylish Bentley owner’s manuals and handbooks of the era. Inside the book is a specially designed model pewter Bentley, described in detail by Fleming in Thunderball.

Bentley Chief Designer Dirk van Braeckel says, “Transferring our design knowledge from the car world to a book was a new challenge for us, but working closely with Penguin, we think we have come up with a unique product which is complementary to the history of Bentley and Bond that can be appreciated by all.”

Only 300 copies of the Special Series edition will be produced, costing £750 each, available exclusively from the Penguin James Bond books website (

About the design:
Evoking the feeling of the Cold War period in which Devil May Care is set, the edition is bound in Bodoniana style cases and finished in burnt oak leather sourced from the tannery in Italy which provides the hides for Bentley’s interiors. The iconic Bentley diamond pattern found on the radiator grille and upholstery of modern Bentley’s, is hand-stitched on the leather casing and the front cover and spine is finished with the silver Bentley ‘Flying B’ – the radiator cap of the Bentley’s of Bond’s time.

The inside of the casing is trimmed in deep red hotspur leather and has the striking fluting used on the 1950’s and 1960’s Bentley interior upholstery. Each book has a unique edition number embossed on a black aluminium plate produced the same company that makes the Bentley engine plates.

Fleming described in detail a modified Bentley R type in Thunderball and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service which Bond loving called ‘the Locomotive’. The car never existed but, using Fleming’s exact specifications, a cast and polished 1:43 scale model of the car has been hand crafted by Bentley for this edition. The miniature is inserted into the book in a car-shaped hole and is individually numbered to match the plate on the inside cover. Each book is protected by a custom-made Plexiglass slip case, which will be sealed in protective and numbered wrapping.

Bentley details:
Dirk van Braeckel, Chief Designer at Bentley, studied at the Royal College of Art, one of the first schools to specialize in car design. He then joined the Volkswagen subsidiary Audi in 1984, and was drafted in to head up Bentley’s design team when the VW group acquired the company in 1988. There he created the groundbreaking design of the Bentley Continental GT, launched in 2004 and one of the most successful sports coupes of our times.

James Bond publishing:
• Over 100 million Bond books have been sold and over half the world’s population has seen a Bond film

• Ian Fleming wrote fourteen James Bond books: Casino Royale (1953), Live_and_Let_Die (1954), Moonraker (1955), Diamonds are Forever (1956), From Russia With Love (1957), Dr. No (1958), Goldfinger (1959), For Your Eyes Only (1960), Thunderball (1961), The Spy Who Loved Me (1962), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963), You Only Live Twice (1964), The Man with the Golden Gun (1965) and Octopussy and The Living Daylights (1966).

• Penguin is publishing the original 14 James Bond books in hardback with brand new cover designs on the 28th May

What was the design philosophy for the cover?
The design captures traditional craftsmanship qualities and techniques and reveals design cues we are passionate about, while also paying homage to the first edition Ian Fleming books. It was important that the design was complimentary to both Bentley and Bond and the history behind both brands meant that the book should be something to be admired and cherished forever.

How did you capture the spirit of Bond and the spirit of Bentley
Marrying Bond and Bentley had to derive from themes that linked both entities: passion, adventure and appreciation for the finer things in life. This helped shape the book into an item which would please people through an element of surprise but could also be admired as something which is unique and unobtainable to everyone.

How does the use of materials reflect materials in Bentley cars?
The choice of materials had to demonstrate the high quality and finishing evident in our cars. It was an opportunity to reflect on historical themes, for example the fluting on the inside book cover, along with the diamond stitching we use on the sport theme seat covers today. The juxtaposition of metal and leather is a theme we work with everyday, and is naturally explored in the design.

How did the idea for the pewter model Continental car come about?
Kate Whatmore, one of our young designers, is very proud of this feature. She wanted the book to have a feel of sophistication and history but to make it “Bond” it had to have something that was a bit unexpected. The element of surprise created from opening the book to find the car within allowed us to carry the Bond–Bentley theme throughout. The model car is handmade and numbered to the book, which makes it a complete entity especially as the model is the car featured in the book.

How closely did you work with Penguin?
Working with Penguin was a unique experience. We learned a lot from designing around an unfamiliar product and certainly learned a lot technically about Bentley craftsmanship in relation to a product other than a car. The people we met and worked with from Penguin were very supportive and enthusiastic about the prospect of the book, Bentley and Kate’s ideas for the design. It was a very positive experience.

What challenges did you face in both design and production?
In all areas of design there are problems that challenge you as a designer to produce the best solution you can. The feasibility of a design idea is always the greater challenge to achieve the best aesthetics and quality. Transferring our design knowledge from the car world to a book was a new challenge for us, but working closely with Penguin, we think we have come up with a unique product which is complementary to the history of Bentley and Bond that can be appreciated by all audiences.

Who at Bentley was involved in the project?
We always start a project in the Bentley design studio by giving all designers a chance to have an idea input and then proceed with the selected work and the designer behind it. In this case it was Kate Whatmore, our lady in exterior design, who came up with the goods. Crispin Marshfield was at hand to help with the right process to follow and link with Penguin. I, as always, had the overview and the pleasure to select and guide the ideas and take them to fruition.

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