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CURRENT BID: £12,750
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1997 Bentley Turbo RL (Long Wheelbase)

Guide Price: £13,000 - £16,000


﹒ Offered with a fresh MOT 
﹒ Perhaps the perfect dark blue colour and cream trim combination
﹒ Great condition inside and out, and drives well
﹒ Rare and desirable Long Wheelbase 
﹒ Modest mileage

The background

The Bentley Turbo R is one of the marque’s best-known models, having been produced for over a decade throughout the 1980s and 1990s. First making its debut in 1985 to replace the Mulsanne Turbo, the R in the name stood not for “Racing” as you might expect, but “Roadholding”, a sign that the big V8 luxury car wasn’t simply fast but also capable in the corners.

Power came from the long-running 6.75-litre V8 used by several models produced at Crewe, the turbocharger lifting power to not far short of 300bhp. That climbed further with the Turbo RT introduced towards the end of Turbo R production, leaving the line at Crewe in 1997 and 1998 alone. With a new Garrett turbocharger and revised engine management, power climbed to a round 400bhp.

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The history

This particular Turbo R long-wheelbase (known as the RL) was first registered in May 1997, not only making it a fairly late model but also presumably quite the 1998 New Year’s present for its first owner! The car was specified in dark metallic blue paintwork with subtle white pinstriping, and an interior that mixes cream and dark blue leather trim. Given the colour and trim combination the seller suspects the car may be a Brooklands edition, though a Bentley expert may well be able to confirm. Badging marks the car out as a Turbo RT, however this is not supported by the chassis number nor on the plaque found on the inner door which identifies it as a Turbo R. 

The current owner acquired the car on 4th April 2019, primarily with the intention of enjoying the car’s burgeoning investment potential, which is now also the reason for sale. During the seller’s tenure no work has been done to the car, but it will be offered with a fresh MOT dated January this year. 

The MOT history looks good and the car has covered only around 10,000 miles over the past decade and has passed its all its MOTs first time since 2014.

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The paperwork

The seller says there is a comprehensive ring-bound folder of paperwork with the car. This includes various service records from over the years, previous evaluations, as well as the original purchase ledger from the car’s first owner, plus sundries like old MOT and insurance details from previous ownership.

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The interior

Bentleys of this era provide a truly imperious driving position and fantastic levels of comfort. There’s always something quite reassuring about climbing behind the wheel - and as the images show, the cabin on this car gives off all the right impressions.

The colour is an appealing match for the exterior coachwork, combining predominantly cream leather trim with contrasting dark blue leather on the dashboard top and steering wheel rim, as well as matching blue piping for the seats. Those details are offset by genuine wood panelling on the dashboard, centre console, and door trim tops, with some wonderful chrome detailing throughout, such as Bentley’s traditional “organ stop” controls for the ventilation.

It all appears to be in very good shape. The cream leather is even in colour and showing no significant signs of wear, even on the driver’s seat. There’s some shininess to the steering wheel rim as you might expect, but it too has retained its colour, and there’s nothing particularly to note about the condition of the dashboard or door cards, all of which seem to be in great condition.

It’s a similar story in the rear cabin, which despite the Bentley’s limousine abilities, can’t have seen much use. The deep pile carpeting used throughout looks to be in good condition, with the driver’s footwell showing the most wear - but not something that looks like it’s beyond bringing back to the same standard as the other footwells. The chrome sill plates are all still shiny too, and what’s visible of the headliner suggests it too is in good shape.

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The exterior

Few cars look more “right” than a Bentley Turbo R in dark metallic blue, the cream interior visible through the tinted glass. From the supplied photos, this particular Turbo R looks right in other ways too, with no obvious issues that might be cause for concern. Starting at the front the bumper and all front panels are in good shape, with seemingly even panel gaps around the large bonnet and no damage to any of the grilles, bumper trims or light units, including those distinctive black light surrounds.

It’s a similar story down the sides, which appear to be as straight as you could ask for, with no visible blemishes in the paintwork, even shutlines around the doors, and brightwork all in very good condition. Inspection of the close-up images of each arch also shows no obvious signs of bubbling or damage, while the sills likewise appear to be straight. The understated seven-spoke alloy wheels with their Bentley centre caps all seem to be in very good condition, protected from kerb damage by the chunky Bridgestone tyres, which seem to have good remaining tread.

Around the back there’s more good news. As with the rest of the car the paint appears to be even in colour and condition and once again the light units are all clear and undamaged, while the bumper and prominent exhaust tailpipe seem to be in excellent shape. There is one visible blemish on the top of the bumper trim near the numberplate, where paint appears to have flaked off what was once a chrome trim piece. The badges and other chrome trim though once again appear to be very tidy.

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The mechanics

The photographs supplied by the seller allow only a glance under the car’s bonnet but the engine bay still appears tidy, with no visible corrosion to the car’s structure, hoses and wiring apparently in good condition and even the sound damping material on the underside of the bonnet in fine shape.

The seller is very happy with the way the car drives, describing it as being in very good condition for its age. The car has always started first time, and to his knowledge everything is working, and more importantly driving, just as it should.

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The appeal

While cars like the Bentley Turbo R are obviously not the cheapest modern classics to run, there’s an argument to be made that they’re increasingly relevant in modern driving. The list of places you can safely appreciate a typical sports car for example is getting ever smaller, but the Turbo R’s qualities you could enjoy on almost every journey - it’s got enough performance to dispatch with most modern traffic, but at the same time, turns every trip into a quiet, smooth and luxurious jaunt that momentarily isolates you from the crazy world outside. Provided you’ve got enough space to store it, and you regularly feed it the necessary fluids (fuel in particular!), it’s a very appealing prospect.

** The photos in this listing have been provided to us by the seller **

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Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1997
  • Make Bentley
  • Model Turbo RT
  • Colour Blue
  • Odometer 65,031 Miles
  • Engine size 6750
  • Location Dorset
Bidding history
19 bids
  • Lo•••• £12,750 27/01/21
  • an•••• £12,500 26/01/21
  • qu•••• £10,500 26/01/21
  • ka•••• £9,900 25/01/21
  • Pe•••• £9,700 24/01/21
  • Ha•••• £9,600 23/01/21
  • jo•••• £9,500 23/01/21
  • Br•••• £7,050 23/01/21
  • Br•••• £6,950 23/01/21
  • Ha•••• £6,850 23/01/21

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