The ultimate pre-VW Bentley?

The ultimate pre-VW Bentley?

The market for the Bentley Continental R, S and T models is an interesting one, with a variation of well over £100,000 between the oldest, highest-mileage R and the youngest, cleanest short-wheelbase T. These cars all have a claim to being the final flowering of the true British-owned Bentley brand, surviving until 2003 as the last car based on the SZ-generation’s architecture, and a performance-orientated two-door coupé, of course. So that’s ultimate in the sense of final, but also in the sense of greatest-ever, if you go by power and performance. The Continental T, like the 1999 example pictured here, made 420bhp from the 1998 model year onwards, with an almost absurd 650lb ft of torque available right down at 2200rpm. All of which added up to 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 170mph.


This immaculate blue example is with Phantom Motor Cars in Surrey, where Simon and Stuart Worthington have developed significant experience of the R, S and T family over many years. ‘The earlier cars are rather different to the ones made from 1998 onwards,’ says Simon. ‘From then, the specification stayed constant to the end of production and various earlier issues were sorted out. For example, engine management improved a great deal and other electrical faults were fixed. We’ve spent a lot on this one, rebuilding the suspension and all the hydraulics, just because that’s the age they’re getting to – even one-owner cars with 29,000 miles, like this.’


Bentley Continental T

That tiny total and the car’s amazing condition put the price at £129,950, which is a serious chunk of change but just what you’d expect for the best ‘T’. The market cares about rarity here, so while the T is scarce, with just 322 built, there are special editions such as the T Mulliner (23 built) and the T Le Mans (5 built) that can attract even higher prices in equivalent condition. The shorter wheelbase and muscular, swollen arches give the car amazing presence, and the colour is bonus too, says Simon. ‘It stands out even on a dull day,’ he says. ‘It looks like the sun is on it all the time.’


1999 Bentley Continental T - interior

Keep an eye out for a buying guide to the Continental R and its associated models in the next issue of Rolls-Royce & Bentley Driver. Simon Worthington will be sharing his wisdom and pointing out the wise buys and the pitfalls that await fans of these extremely attractive cars.


Bentley Continental T

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