- One of 1,236 examples built
- Single-family ownership for 27 years
- Highly original condition
- Dutifully maintained throughout its life by noted British luxury dealers
- Displays 38,128 miles at the time of cataloguing
The Continental R was the first Bentley to not share a bodystyle with a concurrent Rolls-Royce in 26 years, and it was inspired by the highly collectible Continental R-Type of the 1950s. By the time of its introduction at the 1991 Geneva Motor Show, the model had been in development for nearly ten years, and it represented management’s strategic attempt to return Bentley to the sporting identity that was once its stock-in-trade.
The elegant 2-door coachwork was styled by John Heffernan and Ken Greenley on the basis of a sketch by Rolls-Royce’s in-house chief designer Graham Hull, who later designed the entire interior. Remarkably svelte for such a large car, the coachwork was massaged to achieve an impressively low drag coefficient of 0.37.
The automotive press marveled at how the mammoth Continental T cornered at high speeds, thanks to a self-leveling hydraulic suspension with electronically administered active dampers. The 6.75-litre turbocharged V-8 engine was developed from the Mulsanne Turbo of the 1980s, and with the 1994 addition of Cosworth-built cylinder heads it developed 360 horsepower and a robust 500 ft lb of torque. 1994 also saw the addition of larger 17-inch alloy wheels in a new seven-spoke design.
The most expensive production car in the world at the time of its launch, the Continental R remained in production through 2002, with a total of 1,236 examples built. As a marvelous combination of performance and luxury, the model helped catapult Bentley back into the sporting consciousness, while marking the company’s welcome and lasting return to market relevance.
Benefitting from single ownership from new, this beautifully maintained Continental R was delivered in January 1994 to the respected London dealer H.R. Owen, as documented by its service booklet. The Bentley was purchased new by the consignor’s family, and though it was later reregistered under a different company name, the car remained in the family’s care for its entire 27-year life.
Regularly serviced by top-shelf dealers such as H.R. Owen and Jack Barclay Ltd., the Bentley in more recent years has been tended by the respected craftsmen at The Chelsea Workshop, including a June 2021 bout of maintenance that included a Schedule 2 service. Boasting overwhelming originality, the Continental R displays 38,128 miles at the time of cataloguing, demonstrating a history of careful maintenance and sparing driving use. It would make a superb addition to any collection, particularly ideal for Bentley aficionados or collectors of flagship luxury coupes.