1988 Bentley Turbo R Empress II Sports Saloon Coachwork by Hooper & Co Registration no. E336 CGN Chassis no. SCBZS0T00FCH13832 Engine no. 13832
Introduced at Geneva in 1985, the Turbo R continued the modern 'Blower Bentley' theme but with the added refinement of suspension better suited to the car's increased performance. Bentley's much-improved sports saloon was greeted with approval by Autocar magazine. 'There was a time, not so long ago, when Bentley played a faint second fiddle to Rolls-Royce. That is no longer the case. Rolls-Royce's management now recognises the value of the Bentley name and tradition and has developed the image - along with the sales - to take advantage. In a terribly upmarket way, Bentley is now the enthusiast, high performance partner, and never more so than in the turbo-charged Bentley R.' Outwardly the Turbo R (for Roadholding) differed from the preceding Mulsanne Turbo by virtue of its cast-alloy wheels shod with low-profile Pirelli tyres, while inside there was a revised fascia with rev-counter included amongst the comprehensive instrumentation in an interior that retained the traditional Connolly leather, Wilton wool carpeting and polished walnut veneer. In a break with Rolls-Royce tradition, power figures were made public, revealing that the engine produced a 320bhp and a staggering 475lb/ft of torque. On the road this translated into performance figures of 0-60mph in under 7 seconds with the 'ton' arriving fewer than 13 seconds later, and all delivered with quiet and understated ease. Few cars were - or are - better suited to fast long-distance touring in the grand manner. This exceptionally rare Turbo R variant is the first of only a handful of Empress II models produced by Hooper & Co at a reputed cost of half a million pounds. Built for the client who wanted something extra-special and could afford such exclusivity, the Empress II featured two-door coupé coachwork, styled and handcrafted by Hooper, boasting a significantly lower coefficient of drag than the standard body. Specification highlights include the following: colour co-ordinated bumpers with polished stainless steel inserts; polished stainless steel wheelarch surrounds and sills; oval glass sunroof to the driver's compartment; Hooper oval exhaust outlets; Hooper wire wheels; and left- and right-hand side fuel fillers. The interior is trimmed in selected Royal Blue Connolly leather, with rare walnut veneer embellishments, while the seats have a special memory system, the rears being adjustable. The steering wheel is a special Hooper sports item. Other noteworthy features include a solid silver vanity unit (by Asprey of London) to the armrest; a cocktail cabinet containing fine cut crystal decanters and glasses; TV monitor; and a state-of-the-art Alpine 12-speaker in-car entertainment system. The Bentley's first owner was Mr Laurence Graff of the eponymous jewellers for use in the South of France, followed by Arnold Clark of Edinburgh (from 2005) and then the current vendor, who acquired it in 2007. Described as in generally excellent condition, though with some signs of wear to the interior, 'E336 CGN' represents an exciting opportunity to acquire a rare coachbuilt modern Bentley at a fraction of the original purchase price. The car is offered with current MoT and Swansea V5C registration document.