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Car of the Month - December 2006
Bentley Turbo RT "Olympian", 1998, #WCH66148


Bentley Turbo RT Olympian

By 1997, it had been ably clear for some time that the company would launch an entirely new Bentley model. The Bentley Turbo RT was considered by many as the "swan song" of the highly successful Bentley four-door saloons with an outward appearance that had little changed since in 1980, when it had made its debut with the Bentley Mulsanne. There had been cosmetic updates; significant were those from 1996 with the introduction of new higher bumpers integrated with the front spoiler and rear valance. At that time the front quarter lights had been replaced by a new style of side mirror, too. The Bentley Turbo RT was distinguished mainly by a new level of detail as regards its technical components, which had the enhanced performance of the Continental T, with the 400bhp engine that allowed acceleration from standstill to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and provided 590 lb ft (800 Nm) torque at only 2,100 rpm.

Bentley Turbo RT Olympian

Bentley Turbo RT OlympianThe company had good reason to sell off as many bodies and drivetrains as possible that were on stock prior to the next model generation being launched as that inevitably would result in major discounts on the ‘old’ cars. Hence they were keen to agree to a suggestion from Jack Barclay, a major dealer with premises in London. Jack Barclay arranged for 4 cars to be built that incorporated many special features and thus a tiny fraction of those cars built to Turbo RT specifications show subtle differences in their outward appearance. These cars were sold as Bentley Turbo RT 'Olympian'. Externally the Olympian could be identified by the small backlight, special five spoke sports alloy wheels and the ‘Olympian’ badge attached to the boot-lid. These cars were most exclusive, of course. Not least because each one showed subtle unique features reflecting what a client had expressed as a ‘must’ on his or her car.

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Bentley Turbo RT Olympian

It is almost impossible to separate at a quick glance whether or not a Bentley Turbo RT with distinctive outward appearance is from the limited series of Turbo RT Mulliner that was offered ex-factory or indeed is one of the very few Turbo RT ‘Olympian’. And experts would advise as regards the added difficulty that special features like five spoke light alloy wheels were characteristics, too, of the Bentley Turbo R 400 of which just six cars were specially commissioned (one of these was acquired new by Sir Elton John CBE).

Bentley Turbo RT Olympian


 

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