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  • Left-hand drive, with powerful 420bhp Continental T engine
  • All books and papers, spare keys, fresh major service in January 2019 at a cost of £45,375.53
  • To the ultimate Mulliner specification, equipped with the high-performance engine from the Continental T
  • Superbly presented as delivered in Silver Tempest with Nautic Blue interior
UK registered, only 4,733km from new

2003 Bentley Continental R Mulliner

“The Bentley Continental R. Two cars for the price of four.” Bentley’s original advertisement for its new four-seater supercar pulled no punches about the qualities of the Continental R. Or its price…

For a seven-year period from 1996 onwards Bentley Motors – at its spiritual post-War home – crafted cars for the world’s wealthiest and most discerning, those who desired effortless power and bespoke hand-finishing only available from the skilled craftsmen at Crewe.

This late-model Bentley Continental R Mulliner is one.

The Bentley Continental R  

Using the latest Mulsanne Turbo R running gear including the company’s creamy smooth and massively powerful turbocharged V8, the Continental R was a handsome car, a full four-seater appointed luxuriously enough to justify a 1991 launch price of £168,294. Penned by avant-garde designers John Heffernan and Ken Greenley, it was a replacement for the two-door Corniche saloon that had been discontinued in 1980. 

The Continental R debuted several features that brought Bentley up to date with contemporary competition: a four-speed automatic gearbox, heated and electrically adjustable seats and a centrally-mounted gear-lever. A 400bhp limited-edition Continental S appeared in 1994, but two years later Crewe unleashed the short-chassis Continental T onto an unsuspecting world.

Under the bonnet of the £220,313 Continental T sat a tuned V8 (later upgraded to 420bhp and a colossal 650lb ft of torque). It ran on wide 285/45 tyres mounted on 18in alloy wheels, the body subtly modified with flared wheelarches. The entire Continental range was upgraded in 1997 with the adoption of the stylish ‘matrix grille’, a nod to the Cricklewood cars of the 20s and 30s, and these ‘second series’ Continentals were better looking, more sorted and packed even greater performance: the Continental T could sprint to 60mph in just 5.7 seconds and on to 170mph.

Available from March 1999, the Continental R Mulliner was the final flourish. It met demand for a car with the practicalities of the standard-wheelbase version but with the 420bhp turbocharged engine of the 2+2 Continental T.  It was the world’s ultimate sporting four-seat coupé.

As the all-new Volkswagen-designed Continental GT was introduced in 2003, Bentley quietly withdrew the old-school turbo-V8-powered Continentals from its range. It was the end of an era.

This Motor Car 

This Bentley Continental R Mulliner, chassis ‘CX01851’, was commissioned by Bentley Paris (Voitures Paris Monceau SA) in 2002 as a German-market car. Referring to the Bentley Full Specification Details Report, the luxurious car was ordered in Silver Tempest with a Nautic Blue leather interior. The following extras were included:

  • Bentley umbrellas
  • Wood fascia with chrome bezels
  • Voice-activated telephone kit to German specification
  • Audible reversing aid

According to the original service book that accompanies the car, Bentley Motors completed the pre-delivery inspection at 130km on 5 August 2003. Little is known about its early ownership, though the next service is dated 6 March 2008, by which time the odometer showed 2,404km. This was completed by official agent Bentley Belgium.

Incredibly, the distance showing on the odometer in January 2019 was just over 4,000km. On Kidston SA’s advice, earlier this year our client instructed Phantom Motor Cars – a leading Bentley and Rolls Royce UK specialist – to examine its condition and carry out any necessary works.

In a report dated 10 January 2019, the company’s owner Stuart Worthington stated: “This is an absolutely super condition Bentley Continental R Mulliner commensurate with its age and extremely low use.” He recommended a No. 3 hydraulic service, new tyres and further works to “render the headlined Bentley Continental R Mulliner into serviced and useable condition.” At this point the car had covered 4,098km.

With authorisation from the owner, the experienced mechanics at Phantom Motors carried out the necessary works, including:

  • Replace all tyres with new Pirelli Asimmetrico 285/45 ZR 18s
  • Remove old Nokia phone cradle and support box and fit new Parrott Bluetooth phone module
  • Fit unobtrusive phone charging, MP3-streaming system
  • Supply correct pair of Bentley umbrellas
  • Fit new OEM battery and supply and install wiring for CTEK battery conditioner
  • Attend to various paint and trim faults
  • Apply paint protection film to both rear wheel arches
  • Repair driver’s seat mechanism
  • Fit new electric aerial
  • Re-programme alarm system and cut new keys
  • Remove and overhaul steering rack
  • Carry out No. 3 (24,000 mile) service replacing all fluids and filters
  • Install Alcon front brake calipers (£9,288.84 + VAT), discs (£2,917.90 +VAT) and pads (£2,902.76 + VAT), remove and overhaul rear calipers
  • Overhaul coolant system including fitting new expansion tank
  • Fit new bonnet gas struts
  • Adjust ride height and suspension including four-wheel alignment

In total, with VAT, the works came to £45,375.53. Today, the car shows only 4,733km from new and is surely one of the lowest-mileage examples available, almost undriven since extensive work by one of the best in the business. When Aston Martin ceased production of its timeless V8 ‘Saloons’, Bentley took up the standard of four-seater supercars and improved on it. This car is truly the Best of British.

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