Tuesday, March 5, 2024

8 Rarest Bentleys You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

These cars represent the very best that Bentley’s expert engineers and craftsmen can make, and yet most people don’t even know they exist.

Bentley, the British luxury automaker, has long been a favourite of the world’s wealthiest collectors. Millionaires have been lured by the brand’s excellent blend of workmanship and power for decades, and waiting lists for their cars can be months or even years long. A normal Continental or Bentayga, on the other hand, isn’t enough for the most dedicated collectors. They want something rarer, more expensive, and more unique, thus Bentley has produced a slew of specials and one-offs over the years.

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The British luxury carmaker Bentley has long been a favourite of the world’s finest collectors. The brand’s exceptional blend of craftsmanship and power has enticed millionaires for decades, and waiting lists for their cars can be months or even years long. For the most devoted collectors, however, a standard Continental or Bentayga is insufficient. They want something rarer, more expensive, and more one-of-a-kind, thus Bentley has produced a swarm of specials and one-of-a-kinds over the years.

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8. Turbo RT Mulliner

The Turbo R is familiar to most Bentley lovers, but the RT Mulliner is a considerably rarer beast. It’s made up of elements from two Turbo trims, the R and the T, with some Mulliner enhancements thrown in for good measure.

With a 6.75L V8 producing 400 hp and 590 lb/ft of torque, the result is a blisteringly fast luxury barge. The RT Mulliner was only created in 52 pieces, but despite their scarcity, they’re still shockingly reasonable. In the UK, one example is now available for £27,500 ($37,137).

7. Bentley Dominator

Most people are aware with Bentley’s first mainstream SUV, the Bentayga, but few are aware that Bentley built an SUV for a particularly dedicated client in the 1990s. The Sultan of Brunei is known for possessing one of the world’s largest private car collections, and he commissioned and purchased all six Dominators based on the Range Rover.

The actual specifications of the automobile are unknown, and it’s unclear if the Dominator is powered by a Land Rover V8 or a Bentley engine. The Sultan paid roughly $4.6 million for each car, making them one of the most costly Bentleys ever produced in terms of selling price.

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6. 1/4 Liter Embricos Special

André Embricos, a Greek racing driver, approached Bentley in the mid-1930s with the intention of creating a streamlined one-off car that he could use as a race car as well as a daily driver. The 4 1/4 Liter Embricos Special was created after consulting with French coachbuilders Portout Carrossier.

Only one model was ever built, and it was driven hard during the 1930s and 1940s, with numerous notable race entries. This featured three appearances in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, when it placed sixth in 1949. It’s now in the hands of an unknown collector who occasionally displays the Embricos Special at Concours events such as Pebble Beach.

5. Bentley Hunaudières

When VW Group bought Bentley in the 1990s, it went through a period of experimentation as it tried to figure out its new identity inside the group. VW executives pondered turning Bentley into a supercar maker at one point, and the Hunaudières was their image of what that future could look like.

The car was only ever built as a prototype, however it had a 623 horsepower 8.0L W16 engine. It underwent lengthy testing until Bentley management chose to concentrate on premium grand tourers instead. The Hunaudières’ development was not in vain, as much of the underlying design was subsequently passed on to VW Group’s other new acquisition, Bugatti.

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4. Bentley Java

Bentley was undergoing some soul-searching about how to make itself relevant to modern purchasers in the years leading up to VW’s takeover of the company in 1998. Client favourites like the Turbo have been around for a long time, but they needed to be replaced by something a little more modern in the Bentley inventory.

They debuted the Java in 1994, a concept car with more current styling than anything else they’d done before. Originally designed simply as a concept, Bentley went on to produce 18 production vehicles, the majority of which were given to the Sultan of Brunei and his family. Surprisingly, these production vehicles were based on a modified BMW 5 Series chassis rather than a Bentley chassis (E34).

3. S3 Continental Mulliner Park Ward

The S3 Continental was one of the last mainstream Bentleys to be totally hand-built at Bentley’s factory, and it was highly respected by royalty and celebrities alike. The Mulliner Park Ward specials were even more known, as the automobile was customised by both Bentley’s preferred coachbuilder Mulliner and Rolls-in-house Royce’s division Park Ward.

Although most drivers would have been more interested in the engine upgrade package, which increased power by roughly 7%, the tilted headlamps were distinctive to Park Ward-bodied automobiles. Between 1962 and 1966, 312 copies of the regular S3 Continental were constructed, although it’s believed that significantly fewer were subjected to the coveted Mulliner Park Ward refurbishment.

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2. Bentley Buccaneer

The Buccaneer, a sweeping GT coupe with some design parallels to the Continental GT that would follow it some years later, is the Sultan of Brunei’s third and final special Bentley. Six copies of the car are thought to have been manufactured at the Sultan’s peak purchasing power in the 1990s.

The car’s specifications are unknown, however it’s supposed to have shared an engine with the Turbo R of the same era. It’s said to be one of the Sultan’s favourite automobiles, and none of the six specimens in his collection have ever been sold.

1. Bentley Mulsanne Grand Limousine

If an ordinary Bentley or even a Rolls-Royce is too common, consider the Mulsanne Grand Limousine, one of Bentley’s most imposing vehicles ever. After reclaiming five unwanted cars from their original owners in the UAE, the company made news in 2021 by putting them up for sale.

The cars were built in 2015, but they’ve never been registered or used, and it appears Bentley is still selling them for an undisclosed sum. They have a 6.75L V8 engine that produces 505 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque, making them one of the world’s fastest production limousines.

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