Launched in 1992, the Continental R was the first Bentley offered since the 1965 S3 to not share a body with a Rolls-Royce model. It was launched, it was the most powerful Bentley of its day, the fastest and most expensive. In fact, in 1992, it was the most expensive production car built. The Mulliner was launched 4 years later in 1996. Offering the uprated 420 hp 6.75 Litre V8 from the Continental T, it was designed to retain the rear seat flexibility lost in the shorter wheelbase 'T'. With a monster 650lbft of torque available, 0-60 was dispatched in just 5.6 seconds and would go on to a top speed of 170mph.
This car forms a part of an exclusive batch of ten cars originally planned for the US market. They were confidentially called “Black Train” due to their sleek, long-wheelbase narrowbodies, and this is the only one which was allowed to go east – to Germany – rather than west. Ordered with special features, this was a Continental R SE 'Black Train' was unique in that its Berlin-based first owner secured the car to be built in European specification, contrasting the 9 US-designated examples. This example would remain with its first owner for 8,000kms before sale to the current owner.
The SE ‘Black Train’ can be distinguished by its all-black specification. Not only the paintwork and the leather upholstery but also the carpeting and even the wood trim were all specified in the same colour. Other special features include the central console with six instruments, the turbo boost pressure gauge taking pride of place in the centre, the drilled aluminium pedals and the triangular air vents on the wings, which all contribute to the car’s sporty yet discreet character.
Curiously, the Bentley badges were ordered in green for the front and red for the rear: today, more appropriately, both are in red, as are the Continental R script on the boot and the badges at the centre of the wheels. Chrome plating was reduced to a minimum, limited inside to the gear lever and the instrument bezels. The most unusual feature specified by the client for the interior was the rear seat with a removable central armrest, allowing a fifth passenger to be carried if necessary.
In 2019, this example formed part of a laboriously curated Concours of bespoke Bentley Continentals, timed to celebrate the centenary of the marque. Gathered at Villa del Grumello on the banks of the Lake Como, the inaugural Fuori Concorso saw 12 unique and fascinating highlights of the bespoke 90s Continentals.
This very example was too, featured in the book documenting the finest bespoke Continentals; Bentley: A Century of Elegance & Speed - Continentals of the Nineties. The feature can be found attached below.
Today this fabulous example has covered just 37,150 kms from new and is available to view by appointment in Italy immediately.
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