Production years of the classic Bentley Continental R were between 1992 and 2003 and it was justly nicknamed the ‘ultimate late twentieth-century gentleman’s express’. [Nicholas Foulkes, Bentley: a motoring miscellany]
It sported the iconic Bentley V8 engine with alloy cylinder block and head castings, introduced on the Bentley S2 series car in 1959. It has been argued that earlier forms of the engine had strong American antecedents, not surprising in view of the influential part it played on various models of the big three ‘C’s [Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler] in previous years — albeit that the cylinder heads and blocks in the American version were made of cast-iron.
The Bentley V8 engine was redesigned constantly through several decades and in its 1990s’ form the turbo-charged and intercooled 6.75-litre engine boasted 360+hp at 4,200rpm, propelling the Continental R from 0-60 mph in just over six seconds — remarkable for a car weighing well in excess to two tons — with a top speed of 150 mph.
This model also introduced the latest GM 4L80E four-speed automatic transmission along with other notable innovations in its interiors (detailed below). This model and its derivatives redefined top of the range two-door coupé motoring and epitomised the term ‘Gran Turismo’.
“At the merest press of a button, the gears are held for longer, the suspension responds to the change in pace and the Continental R is transformed from a luxurious tourer into something altogether more sporting. You will find no single other car will ever capture the essence of the Continental R.”
[Crewe factory’s advertisement, October 1992]
On the interior, this car is finished in lovely peacock blue with cotswold hide interior, centre console and carpets and cotswold knee roll bound in cotswold beneath the deep pile lambswool over rugs. Luxurious burr walnut veneers are used in the fascia and the door cappings are fully veneered (rather than the normal strain grain above burr walnut facings). Instruments and air conditioning vents have chrome rims whilst the gear lever is in walnut and the steering wheel is split in colour to match the rest of the interior.
On the exterior, the front grill is chromed rather than colour coded. There is a chrome badge and the grill to the radiator is fitted with the Bentley mesh. Uprated wheels from the contemporary Continental T of 18” diameter help to accommodate the 340mm discs which sport red calipers to match the B logo in the wheel centre caps. Having clocked up a mere 26,250 miles, it’s one of the smartest-looking examples of this super classic car.
Displayed courtesy of Mr. Graeme Hunt, Club Motoring Committee member from Wednesday 4th September to Sunday 15th September 2019.