Lot 244

London 2023

1991 Bentley Turbo R Drophead Coupé by Pininfarina

Offered from The Factory Fresh Collection

{{lr.item.text}}

£375,000 - £475,000 GBP | Not Sold

United Kingdom Flag | London, United Kingdom

{{internetCurrentBid}}

{{internetTimeLeft}}


language
Chassis No.
SCBZR04A9NCH44336
Engine No.
76375L410ITEN
Documents
UK V5
  • Offered from The Factory Fresh Collection
  • Believed to be one of just two examples ever built
  • Benefits from more than £75,000 of remedial works at P&A Wood from 2022 to 2023
  • Retains its matching-numbers engine
  • Odometer reads just 741 kilometres

The Bentley Turbo R was without doubt one of the most desirable machines of its day, drawing a seemingly endless stream of admirers impressed with the model’s intoxicating combination of luxurious interior appointments and circa-300 horsepower performance. Just about the only feature missing from the production car was the option of an open variant, due in large part to its 2,450 kilogram kerb weight and prodigious length—engineering obstacles that would prove too costly to overcome for series production. However, some customers of means were accommodated in their desire for an open variant, namely the Brunei Royal Family who, through Alfred Tan, commissioned a short run of impeccable two- and four-door convertibles.

In 1990 Alfred Tan chartered a plane to fly then Bentley and Rolls-Royce CEO, Peter Ward, from London to Turin. There, discussions with Sergio Pininfarina would lead to the creation of a pair of two-door Convertible Turbo Rs, along with a brace of four-door versions. One of each flavour were said to be destined for Brunei, while one of the two-door cars—the very machine offered here—was retained by Hong Seh Motors.

The cost of the conversion was said to be $1,000,000 SGD, with an accompanying invoice dated 30 November 1992—accounting for only partial payment—amounting to 300,000 Lire. A selection of historic photographs documents not only the meetings between the owner, Bentley, and Pininfarina, but the build process of the two cars, with a huge amount of work evident in the course of the conversion. Not only was the coachwork drastically altered to turn the four-door saloon into a rakish and elegant drophead, it was also given a hugely complex electrically operated soft-top roof—a feat of engineering comfortably the match of the exclusive coachwork. This example was desirably finished in black over a matching black leather interior.

Following its successful completion at Pininfarina, chassis 44366 was personally tested by the consignor on the toll roads between Turin and Milan prior to being shipped to Singapore, where it entered his private collection. There it remained until 2022, when it returned to the United Kingdom to receive remedial attention at marque specialist P&A Wood. A staggering £76,057 was subsequently spent bringing the car back to showroom condition. An invoice dated 23 March 2022 details a schedule three service with replacement of all hydraulic rubbers; re-facing of the cylinder heads and fitment of uprated gaskets; a full overhaul of the braking system; a new thermostat, temperature sender, air conditioning compressor, and engine mounts; a suspension refresh; and five new tyres. On 12 January 2023 a further £23,343 was spent on a gearbox rebuild, overhaul of the steering system, fuel tank repair, and repair of the electric hood. Finally, on 22 June 2023, an additional £18,825 was spent, the lion’s share attributed to hood repairs.

This remarkable Bentley Turbo R, which retains its matching-numbers engine, stands testament to the ingenuity of Pininfarina’s expert metal workers and the ambition of the car’s first and only owner. Beautifully presented, sparingly driven, and thoroughly prepared for sale at great expense, this unique piece of Bentley and Pininfarina history is a shining example of the coachbuilders’ art.