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Bentley T Series

Bentley T Series Published: 9th Jul 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Bentley T Series
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Strong value ● Feel-good factor ● Easy ownership ● Sporty driving T2

What’s their attraction?

Along with the Silver Shadow, the T Series was claimed to be the best car in the world bar when launched in 1965 yet almost six decades on, this magnificent, majestic saloon remains surprisingly affordable to buy and to run (thanks to the aid of specialists and the excellent owners’ clubs). In common with most old mainstream Rollers and Bentleys, the T Series did at some point go through a ‘banger period’ before fast emerging as a classic with the T Series in particular smacking of sheer good ‘old money’ taste over the equivalent Silver Shadow.

Driving

Because the T Series is merely a rebadged Shadow there is no sporting pretensions so the driving pleasure comes from simply wafting around, savouring all that finest wood and leather rather than blasting around in a frankly vulgar fashion even though the V8 provides good performance. Some experts may say that it’s best to avoid pre-1969 cars – unless a car that’s too good to ignore crops up – as they suffered from a poor four-speed gearbox and were never set up to run on radial tyres properly, which many now ride on. – seek advice on this. In contrast, the T2, from 1977 drives much more sharply thanks to a reworked front suspension which at last featured rack and pinion steering, transforming the drive.

Prices to pay

No longer the cheap-as-chip Crewe cars although you can still pick up good, cared for examples for under £20,000 which is less than half the price of the top examples – with two-door coupé and cabrios (not Corniche) worth maybe as much again, depending on spec and condition.

Only 1712 Bentleys were made against almost 28,000 Shadows so they are much more exclusive, yet are only slightly higher valued. Is it a real Bentley? Check the car’s history as it only takes a case of grille and details… Think twice about a restoration project, no matter how temptingly priced, because while the 60’s design is hardly high tech now, they are still complex cars warn specialists.

Top buying tips

General

 

Quality and condition vary greatly – and so it’s vital to check out as many as you can to set a datum and authenticity. A solid history is worth more than any glitz and glam. There’s a good spread of specialists dealing in pattern and used parts such as Flying Spares and Intro Car.

Body

 

The T Series rot like any other classic. The usual suspects are sills, wheelarches and valances. Check spring pans and the trailing arms at the rear for rotting; repair kits are available for this problem. A main worry is likelihood of pans rotting, allowing springs to fall out, however. Everflex (vinyl) roof on some cars is costly to replace.

Engine

 

Cylinder liners contract through corrosion, causing a curious knocking, meaning an engine strip. Lack of use leads to scuffed pistons and ‘picked up’ cylinder liners while old antifreeze can lead to furred up waterways.

Brakes

 

High pressure hydraulics under tremendous strain and why a £2000 + overhaul demanded every 96,000 miles. Has it been skipped or half-heartedly done?

Running gear

Rack and pinion set up is superior but it’s not possible to swap over. Play in Series I system can usually be adjusted out; lots of bushes feature which wear and give rise to a sloppy feeling. Springs and dampers have a hard time.

Dates to remember

1967 Re-grilled Bentley T sSeries launched soon after in Shadow’s October 1965 launch.

1968 Rear anti-roll bar now fitted and front bar is enlarged to improve the handling.

1969 New three-speed gearbox care of GM takes over.

1970 Slightly larger engine fitted coupé with improved steering.

1972 Radial tyres adopted and chassis is retuned to suit, central locking fitted, vented disc brakes for ’73.

1974 Wheeelbase stretched to 120 inches, lower profile tyres, slight engine mods.

1976 Flared wheel arches to accept wider tyres.

1977 T2 launched with rack and pinion steering and myriad of chassis enhancements plus a front air dam to improve stability. Camargue’s dual zone automatic air conditioning also fitted.

 



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