Matthew Jones22 June 2012

Classified of the week: another fast Bentley

Just like the new Conti GT, this was the speediest Bentley of its day…

Bentley Continental R

If you look for large, beastly companionship in your car, the new Bentley Continental GT Speed will probably tickle your pickle. It's big. It's grossly overpowered. It goes 205mph. It's a bit ridiculous.

But it's not the first big Benters to offer a concoction of grand luxury and a terrifyingly top end. Meet the Continental R - the largest, expensivest, fastest Bentley of its day.

It was the first of the Brit manufacturer's efforts not to be based on a Rolls-Royce body since the circa-'65 S3, it has a 6.75-litre turbocharged V8, and it's the very definition of conspicuous consumption.

Launched during the 1991 Geneva motor show - during which the Sultan of Brunei bought the car on the stand - it featured remarkably curvaceous bodywork. All of its predecessors had been a bit slab-sided, and had offered considerably worse drag coefficients (that said, the R's was still 0.645, which is roughly the same as a church).

To propel it through the custardy post-100mph air, the 6.75-litre V8 was funded by a Garrett turbocharger - all borrowed from the Turbo R - which made 325hp and a hoofing 450lb ft of torque (though the figures were never officially confirmed - Rolls-Royce listed power outputs as simply "sufficient").

This punted it up to a 145mph top speed and 0-60mph time of 6.6 seconds, which is pretty impressive even by today's standards.

How well this example would tally up to the official stats remains to be seen, but what it might lack in performance it makes up for in utter ostentation. Finished in blue with purple innards, it's certainly a striking combo.

Would you kick it out of your garage?

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