Outwardly distinguishable from the Silver Shadow only by virtue of its different radiator, the T-Series Bentley was introduced alongside its Rolls-Royce sibling in 1965. Mechanically identical, the duo represented a complete break with tradition, being the first of the Crewe factory's models to employ unitary construction of the chassis/body. Originally of 6,230cc, the pushrod V8 engine grew to 6,750cc in 1970 and provided identical power in either application. Nevertheless, Autocar's T2 proved the fastest of the Shadow family that the magazine had tested, accelerating to 60mph in under 10 seconds and achieving a maximum speed of 119mph. Introduced in 1977 alongside the Shadow II, the T2 gained split-level air-conditioning, rack and pinion steering, revised dashboard, and a chin spoiler. Although much less popular at the time than the equivalent Rolls-Royce (only 558 T2s were sold compared to 8,422 standard-wheelbase Shadow IIs) Bentley's resurgence has seen these arguably more attractive cars become increasingly sought after.
According to the original chauffeur and previous owner, and supported by a large history folder, this Bentley T2 was delivered new to Jack Barclay Ltd of London in September 1979. Originally finished in Peacock Blue, the car was purchased by Norman Bloom, a prominent London surgeon. The story goes that in June 1980 Mr Bloom was invited to a garden party hosted by his friends Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher MP and her husband, Denis. At the party Mrs Thatcher apparently remarked that the car's colour not only matched Conservative Blue but also the outfit and hat she was wearing. A few days later the Bentley was presented to her as a gift, and in accordance with protocol was registered to Civil Service Supplies. The car was delivered to the Thatchers' home in Dulwich, South London and used by Mrs Thatcher until 1988. Subsequent owners included Lady Hammond of Starborough Castle, Tania de Thorpe Millard, and then a Bentley enthusiast who in 1992 won an award at the BDC Concours. More recently, and for 17 or so years, the car belonged to a California resident who took it as far afield as Japan.
There is a substantial history file containing the original books (including two full service books); copy chassis records; current MoT certificate; and Jack Barclay's original letter of delivery. The most recent service included replacing the carburettor gaskets, work to the brakes, new battery, new tyres, and a new starter. The car is said to run and drive well, and having just been repainted it looks stunning.