It was a real man’s automobile – powerful and masculine, a real classic of the 90s. At the time of its introduction, the Bentley Continental R was the most expensive production automobile in the world. With its expressive design and powerful turbocharged engine, this two-door coupe redefined the Gran Turismo of the 1990s.
Source: Carriage House Motor Cars
Bentley was and is a story of gentlemen’s status, elitism, and style: аutomobiles from Crewe had always been a privilege for the elite. However, for a couple of decades, the sky over the brand was overcast. The proud British company became a hostage, to a symbiosis with Rolls-Royce that somehow took away the brand’s identity. However, the financial collapse of Rolls-Royce Limited was so loud that in 1971 the co-production was nationalized by the British government. After the acquisition of the brand by Vickers in 1980, the company’s business went up, but weakly. For example, the Continental R sold a couple of hundred units a year. However, this model was the first body that was not similar to the Rolls-Royce model since 1965. The fastest, most expensive, and most powerful vehicle of the British automaker became the benchmark of style and luxury of its time.
Traditionally, Aston Martin and Jaguar were the British brands responsible for the production of GT vehicles in Britain. However, in 1991, Bentley also entered this segment of the market with its new Continental R model. It all started with the Project 90 coupe concept presented at the 1984 Geneva Motor Show, which took 7 years to finalize. The result was a modern interpretation of the R-Type Continental fastback from the 1950s to the brand’s lineup – a powerful and fast 2-door automobile of the highest price category. For the first time in 30 years, Bentley launched its model, which had no analog under the Rolls-Royce brand. In addition, in 1991, Bentley’s new darling topped the list of the most expensive production vehicles in the world: it cost £178,000. The automobile shared a common platform with other models with a reduced wheelbase to 3061 mm, self-leveling hydraulic suspension, and front-ventilated disc brakes. Under the hood was a proven Bentley Turbo R 16-valve 6750cc V8 engine with Garrett turbocharging and MK-Motronic electronic fuel injection. The company did not officially report the power and torque indicators, but experts estimated them at 325 hp and 610 Nm, respectively. The prototype Bentley Continental R was shown at the 1991 Geneva Motor Show, where it was immediately bought by the Sultan of Brunei. The design of the automobile indicated thematic similarities to the Mulsanne and Turbo sedans, but with some hint of aerodynamics. The coupé’s main features were curved fender lines, a lower roofline, vertical taillights, and long, horizontal front turn signals. The model was in production until 2002 and produced 1289 automobiles, including limited editions of the Continental S, California Edition, and Millennium Edition. In 2000-2003 the company also built 38 Continental R420s and 46 Continental R Le Mans, all with 420 hp engines.
Source: Historics Auctioneers
Since its launch in 1991, the 6.75l turbocharged V8 Garrett engine from the Turbo R was picked for Continental R. Early vehicles (from 1991 to 1993 included) had an estimated power of 325 hp (242 kW; 330 hp) at 4000 RPM and maximum torque of 610 N⋅m (450 lb-ft) at 2000 rpm, as the company, like Rolls-Royce, didn’t disclose the real metrics for their products preferring to describe power output simply as “sufficient”. The car used a new 4-speed GM 4L80-E automatic transmission that was extensively tested by Rolls Royce over 1,609,344 km (1,000,000 miles), and modified by them to provide a very high level of detail. The car featured self-leveling hydraulic suspension (with adaptive travel/automatic travel) and ventilated disc brakes at the front with dual calipers. The engine was controlled by MK-Motronic digital fuel injection with a fully tuned ignition control system. At launch, the claimed top speed was 233 km/h (145 mph) and the 0-97 km/h (60 mph) acceleration time was 6.6 seconds. All cars featured an electronic transmission selector mounted on the center console (the first time Rolls Royce had made a car without an automatic transmission selector on the steering column), as well as a Sport button to simultaneously adjust the transmission layout and stiffen the suspension for more aggressive driving and handling.
Source: Charles Crail
The 1993 edition appeared in L.A. Law (1986-1994), Fled (1996), Dead to Me (2019-2022), and many more.
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