Year of manufacture1990
Number of seats2
1990 Bentley Continental Convertible
Coachwork by H J Mulliner, Park Ward
Registration no. G213 SGO
Chassis no. SCBZD00A1LCX30140
Engine no. 7069914/01
The incomparable Bentley Continental sports saloon has been synonymous with effortless high speed cruising in the grand manner since its introduction on the R-Type chassis in 1952. This magnificent tradition seemed to have ended with the demise of the successor S-Type Continental - the final six-cylinder Bentley - only to re-emerge triumphantly in 1984 with the introduction of the T-Series Continental.
The re-launch of Bentley was a key factor in Rolls-Royce's marketing strategy for the 1980s. To rekindle interest in the marque, that glorious name from its past was resurrected - 'Continental' - and applied to the two-door model previously known, like its Rolls-Royce equivalent, as the Corniche. Introduced in March 1971, the Corniche was a revised version of the H J Mulliner, Park Ward-bodied two-door variants of the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and Bentley T-Series saloons, themselves notable as the Crewe factory's first unitary construction cars. In Corniche form Rolls-Royce's well-tried 6.7-litre V8 produced around ten percent more power than standard and proved capable of propelling the car to a top speed in excess of 120mph, with sports car-beating acceleration to match. The model proved a major success for Rolls-Royce, and although its exterior style remained recognisably Silver Shadow, the Corniche/Continental benefited from the regular up-dates and improvements made to the contemporary Silver Spirit range.
An inspired move, the Bentley's name change had the desired effect; sales, which in the 13 years since the Corniche's launch had amounted to a mere 77 Bentley-badged cars, totalling 421 for the succeeding 11 years of Continental production. Flagship of the range, the new Continental was a worthy scion of this noble British family, impeccably engineered and hand-built in the time-honoured manner by Mulliner Park Ward Limited's peerless craftsmen. Like its illustrious forebears, the modern Continental represented the ultimate in bespoke coachbuilt motoring, designed to appeal to those discerning -and necessarily very wealthy - clients with the most refined of tastes, a well developed appreciation for the finer things of life and a refusal to accept anything less than the very best. Far from being an outmoded concept, this uncompromising approach was so successful and demand for the exclusive Continental so sustained, that it remained in production well into the 1990s, the last (Convertible) examples being delivered in 1995 by which time 441 had been produced and the UK price had risen to well in excess of £100,000.
The essence of Continental ownership was most aptly summed up by Autosport's inimitable John Bolster. Writing in 1958, Bolster noted that the Continental was a classical design that achieved a high degree of excellence by sheer quality of construction: 'In doing so, it develops an individuality, a character, call it what you will, that makes it entirely different from any other marque. The man who drives a Continental lives in an enchanted world, for everybody calls him "sir" and he may park where other lesser cars may never tread.' Despite the passage of more than 50 years, Bolster's words ring every bit as true today as they did then.
Originally built for a customer in Spain, this left-hand drive Bentley Continental Convertible was purchased by the current vendor from Nicholas Mee & Co in May 2012. Its previous owner had kept the car in Dubai. The Bentley had been serviced by Frank Dale & Stepsons prior to purchase, then by Nicholas Mee and subsequently has been cared for by White Rose Automotive in Liss, Hampshire. White Rose have maintained the car on a regular basis, the most recent major works, undertaken this year, concerning the cooling and air conditioning systems. All service invoices are offered with car, which also comes with a tool kit, V5C document and MoT to May 2016. A total of 83,224 kilometres is currently displayed on the odometer.