Collecting Cars

1997 BENTLEY CONTINENTAL T

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This Bentley Continental T is a rare, powerful and luxurious cross-country express, presented in a handsome colour scheme. Its engine is a 6.75-litre turbocharged V8, producing 400hp and 590lb-ft of torque, coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission. The odometer shows 73,448 miles from new.

The Continental T was a more athletic, and more expensive, version of the Continental R, taking 102mm out of the wheelbase and with flared front and rear wheel arches. Its brake discs were also uprated to provide suitable stopping power. It is understood that just 321 examples were built, of which only 104 were right-hand drive.

First registered on 21 January 1997, this is an original UK-market car, which has evidently been enjoyed and well-maintained over the years. For the first seven years on the road, it was only used sparingly, but over the last 15 years it has been exercised more regularly. The car has recently featured on the popular ‘Harry’s Garage’ YouTube channel with Harry Metcalfe.

The seller describes the bodywork and paint as being in excellent condition, and it certainly appears to be beautifully presented in the photo gallery below. There is a minor graze visible on the nearside front bumper, but in general it is in superb condition for its age, and the seller believes the finish is original. All of the brightwork is in great shape, with a polished appearance and no unsightly blemishes. The five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels are in very good order, with no kerbing damage, and all retain the correct centre caps.

Turning to the interior, the extensive Parchment hide appears to be entirely original across the seats and panels, and is in superb order. There is some minor wear and discolouration along the driver’s outer bolster, but otherwise the cabin is in wonderful condition. The seller notes that the steering wheel was re-connolised last year. While most Continental Ts featured turned-metal dashboard inlays, this car was specified with more traditional wood veneer trim. A contemporary Kenwood stereo head unit is installed, with digital radio and USB connectivity, but otherwise the instruments and switchgear are original, and they are all reported to be in good order.

The car presents with a solid maintenance history, which is summarised below. Over the last two years, the car has had a substantial amount of work carried out by Bentley specialist D.E.W. Car Services in Eynsham. In September 2018, at 70,569 miles, the coolant system bypass gasket and O-rings were replaced, along with the top hose and the header tank. A new offside rear suspension spring pot was installed, along with new rear brake pads, new brake flexi hoses, and replacement brake accumulator seals. The engine fan belts were renewed, and various other minor components were either repaired or replaced.

Around six months later, in April 2019 at 70,945 miles, the thermostat was replaced, along with the coolant gauge sender. The steering wheel was sent away for professional re-connolising, and the hydraulic bonnet and boot struts were all renewed. A full set of new tyres was also fitted, at a cost of more than £2,000.

In July 2019, the alarm box was removed to be re-coded, and a DAB digital radio and aerial were installed. The gearbox selector shaft seal was replaced, and the transmission oil was replenished. The rocker cover gaskets were also renewed with modified items, and new brake reservoir-to-accumulator hoses were fitted. Minor electrical issues were attended to, and the automatic boot locking mechanism was repaired.

At 71,777 miles in October 2019, a leaking engine sump gasket was replaced, and the engine oil and power steering fluid were renewed. The seller notes that the air pump currently squeaks slightly on start-up. Its most recent maintenance was in June 2020 at 73,130 miles, carried out by specialist Nigel Sandell, when new gas canisters were installed for the rear suspension.

Its last MOT test was on 17 October 2019 at 71,892 miles, when it achieved a first-time pass with no advisories. The wheels are fitted with matching Pirelli P Zero tyres, which have covered around 2,500 miles, so remain in very good condition with ample tread.

Accompanying the car are all the handbooks, the stamped service book, an original brochure, and some recent paperwork for the D.E.W. Car Services maintenance. A full set of tools, full-size spare wheel, and two keys and remote transponder fobs are also present.

This Bentley Continental T is a wonderful example of 1990s British bespoke coachbuilding at its finest. Equipped with a powerful turbocharged V8, this luxury grand tourer makes a fine companion for long-distance road trips, and its cabin is the epitome of modern classic opulence. Presented in excellent condition throughout, this rare sporting model would be a credit to any collection, but is also ready to enjoy on the road after a significant investment in its mechanical condition.

Summary of service and MOT history:

  • 06/02/1997 - Service at 733 miles (Weybridge Automobiles)
  • 08/09/1998 - Service at 4,632 miles (Leodis Court Bentley)
  • 21/02/2000 - Service at 4,793 miles (JCT600 / Leodis Court)
  • 11/09/2001 - Service at 5,008 miles (Ron Stratton)
  • 11/11/2004 - Service at 8,116 miles (Straight Eight)
  • 11/05/2005 - Service at 17,363 miles (Straight Eight)
  • 10/03/2006 - MOT at 24,719 miles
  • 02/11/2006 - Service at 29,449 miles (Broughtons of Cheltenham)
  • 02/07/2007 - Service at 33,455 miles (Broughtons of Cheltenham)
  • 03/08/2007 - MOT at 33,495 miles
  • 2008-2012 - Undated, two stamps (Ian Goss Services)
  • 15/05/2009 - MOT at 39,788 miles
  • 21/10/2009 - MOT at 44,135 miles
  • 02/11/2010 - MOT at 49,302 miles
  • 22/07/2011 - MOT at 51,998 miles
  • 02/12/2011 - MOT at 45,945 miles (incorrect reading by tester)
  • 20/03/2013 - Service at 64,012 miles (The Chelsea Workshop)
  • 18/10/2013 - MOT at 67,811 miles
  • 27/02/2015 - Service and MOT at 68,610 miles (Specialist Cars of Malton)
  • 22/04/2015 - MOT at 69,065 miles
  • 18/09/2017 - MOT at 70,033 miles
  • 18/09/2018 - MOT at 70,569 miles
  • 25/09/2018 - Service at 70,569 miles (D.E.W. Car Services)
  • 08/10/2019 - Service at 71,777 miles (D.E.W. Car Services)
  • 17/10/2019 - MOT at 71,892 miles
  • 09/06/2020 - New rear gas springs at 73,130 miles (Nigel Sandell)

All cars and motorbikes on Collecting Cars are run through an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and has no finance owing.

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