1991 Bentley Continental R Coupe
Lot 244
Pre-production prototype,1991 Bentley Continental R Coupé Chassis no. SCBZB03DXNCX42009 Engine no. 76094L410I/TKM
£25,000 - 30,000
US$ 42,000 - 50,000
Lot Details
Pre-production prototype
1991 Bentley Continental R Coupé
Registration no. J929 FFM
Chassis no. SCBZB03DXNCX42009
Engine no. 76094L410I/TKM


  • By the end of the 1970s, Bentleys accounted for a mere 3% of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars' production, clearly a situation that could not be tolerated if the once-famous marque was to avoid extinction. The solution was to seek to re-establish Bentley's credentials as the purveyor of high-performance luxury cars, and in a move calculated to evoke memories of the company's glorious past achievements at Le Mans, the name 'Mulsanne' was chosen for the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit's counterpart. This strategy would succeed brilliantly. Launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1982, the Mulsanne Turbo provoked a rash of headlines in the motoring press hailing the return of the 'Blower Bentley' - the 'Silent Sportscar' was back.
    Bentley's 1980s resurgence had hitherto relied exclusively on models whose basic architecture was shared with other Rolls-Royce products; but on display at Geneva in '85 was 'Project 90', a mocked-up two-door coupé intended to gauge public response to the idea of a high-performance car unique to Bentley. When the real thing - the Bentley Continental R - was unveiled six years later, the waiting crowd burst into spontaneous applause. Styled with the assistance of consultants International Automotive Design, the Continental R benefited from computer-aided design and wind tunnel testing in the devising of its sleekly streamlined shape. Despite the need to incorporate non-traditional features such as doors recessed into the roof, the result looked every bit a Bentley, albeit one restated for the 1990s. Also new was the gearbox, a four-speed automatic with an 'overdrive' top ratio, but the main focus of interest was the newcomer's performance. Needless to say, this was outstanding, the combination of the Turbo R engine in the new wind-cheating shape cutting the 0-60mph time to under 6 seconds and boosting top speed to in excess of 150mph.
    A pre-production example (no. 5), this left-hand drive Continental R was built to US specification and featured in the Geneva Motor Show brochures for the model at its launch in 1992 (brochure copies available). Circa 2000, the car was exported to Australia where the immediately preceding owner purchased it approximately seven years ago. Work carried out during his ownership included overhauling the steering and air conditioning (with a new compressor), fitting new brake pads and re-coring the radiator. While in his possession the Bentley was used for various rallies, touring Europe extensively in 2008 and visiting motoring events including the St Moritz British Classic Car Meet in July when it won a concours trophy.
    A new front bumper had just been fitted (following a collision with a hare in Ireland) when the car was purchased by the current owner at Bonhams' Sale at Kelmarsh Hall in June 2009 (Lot 234) by which time it had covered around 130,000 miles from new. Now UK registered and with duties paid, this historic pre-production Bentley prototype is described by the vendor as in generally good/excellent condition and offered with current MoT and Swansea V5C document.
  1. Tim Schofield
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 7468 5804
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