1996 Bentley Continental R Jack Barclay
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The details of this Bentley Continental R
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Silverstone Auctions - The Salon Privé Sale 2016
3rd Sep 2016
1996 Bentley Continental R Jack Barclay
In a nod to the most beautiful Bentley of them all, the first Continental since 1966 used the 'R' suffix to recall memories of the R-type. The name wasn't taken in vain, for this was also the first individually-styled Bentley since the Sixties. Launched in 1991, the Bentley Continental R was a large, ultra-exclusive, luxury coupé made by Bentley until 2003. It was the fastest, most expensive, and most powerful Bentley of its day and was also the most expensive production car in the world at launch. It was substantially more streamlined than the contemporary Bentley saloons and the stalwart 6.75 litre V8 engine was boosted in power.
In the 1996 model year (chassis numbers between 53001 and 53514), the basic Continental R was priced at £187,354 in the UK. In this year, some of the most significant changes since the launch of the car were introduced, notably the inclusion of the liquid-cooled chargecooler as standard, along with improved engine management ensuring a better throttle response, an increase in fuel efficiency and, digitally controlled, turbo over-boost. It also meant an increase in power output, and a change in policy by Rolls Royce as this was the first time performance figures were officially released by the manufacturer, departing from a long tradition of describing performance as ‘adequate' or ‘sufficient'. This was probably because the figures were so impressive: 385 bhp at 4000rpm and torque of 550lbft, peaking at only 2000rpm, and available up to 4000rpm. No other production car in the world at the time delivered such levels of torque. 0-60 mph was now officially quoted by Rolls Royce as ‘sub 6 seconds' and a top speed of 155 mph. The 1996 model year also saw revised 17" alloy wheels and steering wheel tilt adjustment for the first time. This was electrically adjustable and so could now be set as part of the seat and wing mirror memory positions.
The car presented here is a 1996 Continental R ‘Jack Barclay' by Mulliner Park Ward. This very special car is number 8 of only 10 examples specifically commissioned in 1996 by the world's largest and oldest Bentley dealership Jack Barclay of London. Known as a Dealer Limited Edition and ensuring maximum exclusivity, these 10 cars are highly sought-after. If you were fortunate enough to be able to buy one in 1996, the original purchase price was £196,408. As when new, the car looks resplendent in special order Silver Dollar paint and features the later Azure black leather seats (giving a much better driving position and sense of sitting within the car). The car features lowered suspension, widened bodywork, a re-profiled front air dam and an upgraded interior. This particular car's overall condition is very good, and we're told the driving experience is "as good as you'd hope for".
The car is accompanied by a copy of its original build sheets from Bentley, a thorough servicing history and many invoices. Servicing has been appropriate, having been back to main-agent Broughtons Bentley (between 1996 and 1998), then at Jack Barclay Bentley (1999 - 2002 & 2004), marque specialists Wraith Motors (2003 & 2005 - 2011) and marque specialist Sunningdale (2013 - present). In 2013, a previous owner invested £13,645 with Royce Service & Engineering of Surrey on maintenance and Bentley-approved upgrades to the car. As is common practice, these sanctioned upgrades modernised the car cosmetically, being factory-issued on cars from 1998. These included wing vents, a matrix grille, mesh grills under the lights, clear indicator lenses, and the fitting of a wood-rim steering wheel.
This ultra-rare Bentley has covered 67,000 serene miles and been enjoyed and driven, as these cars were designed to do, but has been fastidiously maintained. Modern-era Bentleys deserve to have the renaissance they richly deserve and this beautiful Continental R ‘Jack Barclay', whilst being competitively guided, opens the door into a very exclusive club. Now ready to be enjoyed by a new owner, this is one not to be missed, and has the potential to be a shrewd investment.
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