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Bentley Mulsanne

Bentley Mulsanne Published: 10th Jul 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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Great value ● Good choice ● Aston-like character of turbo ● Easy ownership

What’s their attraction?

There’s no better way of – to the outside world at least – enjoying a champagne lifestyle for beer money. You can look like a lottery winner with a Bentley Mulsanne if you buy well. This replacement for the Shadow-based old T Series can be astonishing value for money plus the Bentley variants are tailored for the enthusiast, especially the Aston-like Turbo models, which are now collectible and all are quite affordable to run and maintain.

Driving

As the Silver Spirt is a considerably superior car to the old Shadow, it makes the sportier Mulsanne an even more impressive prestige performance car. These Bentleys are surprisingly agile and sporty for their size and bulk thanks to their stiffer suspension and beefier tyres albeit as you’d expect, there’s comfort and convenience to spare although when you’re in the mood to cruise, the softer Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit is the more refined and the nicer to pilot in a more relaxed stately manner. The Turbos are amazing bargain Q Cars, sporting an Aston-like character and with well over 300bhp on tap are as quick. The TurboR (which stands for Roadholding) is the best but it’s well to remember that the simpler, cheaper, easier to own Brooklands, Eight and the later S offer a similar chassis for a sporty drive and is fine with the power they already have. The four-speed auto box is well worth having if the budget allows for a 1992 car.

Prices to pay

You can find them at auction for comfortably under £10,000 but whether you’d be wise to buy one is debatable. Budget on ten grand minimum for a mainstream Mulsanne and double for the Turbo – the Rs command at least £10K extra. There’s plenty around so don’t rush and certainly don’t buy a poor one to make good as you’re better off with a sound if dearer car from the outset. And try a few to set a benchmark as condition greatly varies; pre-’86 cars are not as well built as later models, is the general view and poor running carb-fed Turbos is common. Later cars may have active ride suspension which is good to have but expensive when it goes wrong.

Top buying tips

Right signs

 

A full service history is essential, ideally backed up by receipts of repairs rather than just service stamps. Quality tyres point to a caring owner, particularly on the older, cheaper cars.

Rust

 

Can be bad; wheelarches and lower rear corners, as well as the sills and beware of recent respray or two-tones which may well be hiding rust and filler work. One rust spot well worth checking is rear spring pans which rust like murder. Beware of missing or damaged brightwork as they are pricey to repair although second-hand items are freely available from specialists such as Flying Spares and Intro-Car. ENGINE Exhaust manifolds frequently crack. On low mileage cars, tappets can be a little noisy on start-up. Knocking can also be caused by rusty cylinder bores. Watch for worn turbos.

Hydraulics

 

Routine £2000+ service of complete system, controlling brakes and self-levelling suspension, is part of the maintenance schedule but due to cost, the most neglected.

Running gear

If self actuation rods, spheres or the ECU, play up they are costly to fix. Bushes wear and steering rack is said to be prone of bursting its seals, and can usually be caused by excessive use of full lock, so check.

Dates to remember

1980 Launched as the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit and Bentley Mulsanne.

1982 Mulsanne Turbo joins the range packing a 50 per cent power hike and a retuned chassis and suspension to cope.

1984 ‘Affordable’ entry model called the Bentley Eight is introduced with slightly less kit and chrome although is mechanically similar.

1985 Turbo R joins line up with a claimed 324bhp allied to a retuned chassis.

1987 Fuel injection filters down to all models along with standard ABS.

1988 Engine power outputs increased, taking the Turbo to 350+bhp.

1990 Series 2 Mulsanne range benefit from revised styling and automatic ride control

1992 Four-speed auto, Brooklands replaces the Eight. Third generation (’93) has power gain and better rear seats.



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