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Bentley Continental

Bentley Continental Published: 13th Jul 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Bentley Continental
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THE CLASSIEST COUPÉ?

IN BRIEF

The Continental of the early 1990s is a unique blend of old-fashioned Bentley values twinned and modern craftsmanship and thinking. They look classy, perform exceptionally well and are not particularly expensive to maintain plus are a good investment for the future.

TIMELINES

1991 New sporting Bentley coupé uses familiar running gear from the Turbo R Mulsanne; interior is unique.

1993 Slight power hike, a new four-speed auto, twin airbags and redesigned seats.

1995 New ZYTEK engine management system. Traction control standard along with 17inch wheels.

1997 Continental T, introduced with fourinch shorter wheelbase, flared arches and uprated suspension to cope with 420bhp.

1999 A sun-seeking spin-off was the SC (Sedanca Coupé), with a novel twin-panel glass sunroof, special sports seats.

DRIVING

Continetals pretty much drive like the Mulsannes they are based upon so their firmer suspensions can give rise to more coarseness and you have to expect less refinement than the saloon’s, especially in the more raucous Continental T model. The trade off is surprisingly adept and alert handling for such a big coupé that’s up there with the Aston Martin V8 and Virage but with more quality and comfort. For a coupé, rear seat space is reasonable although the shorter but stylish Continental T is notably the more cramped.

BEST MODELS

The post 1995 cars with their superior engine management system and other improvements are the best buys. The SC is more showy but the leaking roof along with less cabin space may not be ample compensation for that sun seeking roof. Don’t think that every car has been pampered because many haven’t and beware of cheap buys because of this.

VALUES

Around £15,000 is the trade value for the cheapest Continentals, with a retail price in the region of £25,000 upwards depending upon condition and where it is being bought from. However, according to leading Bentley specialists, £35-50,000 remains the realistic amount to pay for wellmaintained examples. The more powerful S model typically commands £10,000 over a normal R version. The cream-of-the-crop SC models now sell for six figures.

BUYING ADVICE

Try a few to set a benchmark as hard used ones will feel floppy. Some form of service history is essential with this type of car. And check out the seller and their dwellings; do both look like they could afford such transportation? Rust shouldn’t be a major issue but don’t dismiss stonechips on the bonnet, as a new one can cost up to £3000. A new wing will also set you back around £3000, so it gives you an idea of renovation costs. Check the sills first as it costs some £3500 per side to properly replace. On the SC, check for dampness and floor rot. Underneath, inspect the subframe, mounts, floors, inner wings, bulkheads and the boot floor. At the rear, look at the suspension spring pans; these rust away at the suspension trailing arms causing the spring to fall away but thankfully cost no more than £100 to replace. The engine’s iron cylinder lines can contract and squeeze the pistons resulting in a knocking sound due to internal corrosion usually as a result of infrequent antifreeze changes. Frequent oil changes are vital to prevent sludging up of the hydraulic tappets, too. Smoky start ups could mean that the turbo is on the way out, at a cost of £2500 for the component alone.

The Citroën hydraulic system which controls the brakes and self-levelling suspension requires overhauling every 90,000 miles and fluid every four years.



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