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Car of the Month

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Bentley Continental Genesis

Bentley - 50 Years of the Marque




Car of the Month - December 2022
Bentley Continental R, 1990/91, #SCBZB00A6NCX42003
Fixed Head Coupé by Mulliner Park Ward

Bentley Continental R

It is generally accepted that all and any specimen from the Bentley Continental R model-series had been fitted with turbocharged engines. However there has been one - and only one - Continental R with no turbocharger increasing the engine's power! That peculiar variant is the model year 1992 Continental R with chassis-number (VIN = Vehicle Identification Number) #SCBZB00A6NCX42003. The double zero in the VIN (6th and 7th digit) reveals that this car was not equipped with a turbo. This car had been the third Continental R built – and indeed the process of manufacturing this as a pre-series model had started in 1990 and was finished during the first half of 1991. It was initially built to Swiss specifications; an entry in the factory records stated "For use in Switzerland". The story begins in October 1990 when the pre-production Continental Rs were specified. This #SCBZB00A6NCX42003 was specified with turbo, like all other Continental Rs. The colour scheme was 'Ming blue' with Magnolia hide. The car did serve as a 'Company Demonstrator' and was used for promotional purposes; e.g. exhibited at various dealers’ showrooms on a tour in the United Kingdom in July 1991 followed by a similar tour in the USA. During various demonstration runs it collected a mileage of more than 2,500 miles.

Bentley Continental R

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In 1992 the coupé returned to the factory at Crewe. Shortly afterwards the car was sold to a female customer; listed as a 1992 motor car it was supplied to H.R.H. Princess al Jowhara Bint Saoud al Kabeer who lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Prior to delivery the finish complying with Swiss specifications had to be adapted to meet Arabian specs. Such changes were more skin-deep because for use in Saudi Arabia the following features were altered/up-dated: emission control, fuel filler neck, towing eyes in the front bumper, fuel filler label, head restraints, E mark label, sunvisor label, high mounted stop-lamp and battery label.

Bentley Continental R

The engine was changed, too, and the catalyst became deleted. Why and when the engine was changed into a non-turbo engine is not noted in the records. Given that Saudi customers usually insisted on latest specifications the reason for that decision remains a mystery. It will stay one of the RR&B secrets.

Acknowledgement: Research by Marinus Rijkers, The Netherlands, has found this curious facet from the early history of that model-series launched by Rolls-Royce in the early 1990s.

Bentley Continental R

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