The Bentley Turbo R was introduced at Geneva in 1985 and continued the modern 'Blower Bentley' theme. It came with additional refinement to the vehicle's suspension making it more suitable to the vehicle's increased performance. This vehicle was instrumental in the resurgence of the legendary Bentley name. It was hard to imagine that during the close of the 1970s, the Bentley name was on the verge of extinction, as it accounted for just 3% of Rolls-Royce Motor Car's production. However, this tragedy was avoided by re-establishing the company's credentials as the purveyor of high-performance luxury cars. Part of the company's strategy was to evoke memories of their glorious past achievements at Le Mans. When Rolls-Royce introduced their Silver Spirit, the Bentley counterpart was named 'Mulsanne' in honor of its accomplishments at LeMans. It was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1982 and was immediately successful. It was hailed by the motoring press as the return of the 'Blower Bentley.'
On the exterior, the Turbo R differed from the preceding Mulsanne Turbo by virtue of its cast-alloy wheels and low-profile Pirelli tires. Inside, there was a revised fascia with rev-counter included amongst the comprehensive instrumentation. The engine offered an impressive 320 bhp and 475 lb./ft. of torque.
Production of the Bentley Turbo RT lasted for a only a brief period, from 1997 through 1998, with just 252 examples built. They were the last, most powerful, most expensive, and the rarest of the Turbo R line. The 6.75 liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine offered 400 horsepower and had a base price of $211,600, or roughly $65,000 more than the Turbo R. To distinguish them from their Turbo R siblings, Bentley fitted the Turbo RT with sport wheels, radiator mesh grille and colour-coded bumpers with bright mesh inserts.
Bentley produced two special editions of the Turbo RT, the Turbo RT Olympian and the Turbo RT Mulliner. Just four (estimated) examples of the Olympain and 56 Mulliner editions were built. The Olympian version were the product of London dealer Jack Barclay agreeing to have a small number of cars built to incorporate many special features. They had five-spoke alloy wheels (which they borrowed from the Mulliner version) and the 'Olympian' boot badge.
The RT Mulliner version was available as either a short-wheelbase or long-wheelbase model. The majority (49 examples) were LWB with just 7 being built to standard wheelbase specification. 17 where right hand drive. This version was available only by special order for the 1998 model year. Under the bonnet, the engine had been tuned to produce 420 horsepower and 635 lb/ft of torque. This increase was possible thanks to a new compressor for the turbocharger, remapped engine management system, and modifications to the air intake system. Each example was built to individual specifications, with many being fitted with side and bonnet vents, a smaller rear windscreen, and a speedometer for the rear passengers. They rode on low-profile 255/55 tires, 18-inch alloy wheels, and had a wider track with flared fenders. In the front were rounded, more aerodynamic bumpers with prominent venting and often foglamps
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2015
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