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Car of the Month

More on Bentley in these books:

Bentley - On the road 

Bentley - 50 Years of the Marque


Car of the Month - October 2018
Bentley Turbo RT Olympian, 1989, #WCH66418

Bentley Turbo RT Olympian

1998 was significant for the English motor car manufacturer not merely because of Vickers’ decision to sell Rolls-Royce and Bentley. It was known to wide circles that the existing model series – developments of the 1980 launched Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit and Bentley Mulsanne – were to become substituted by entirely new models. A rapid series of somewhat unexpected changes led to a complete splitting, Rolls-Royce and Bentley emerged as separate entities. The thrill of what happened might be an explanation that certain peculiarities went almost unnoticed – one such is that but few do know about the existence of the model-designation 'Olympian'. Merely half a dozen have been made, none did sport lefthand-drive; hence obviously from the very start it was intended to export any either to the Continent or to North America. 

Bentley Turbo RT OlympianIt had been an initiative of London dealers to order a limited number of 'Olympian'. Four Bentley Turbo RT 'Olympian' were manufactured and two Rolls-Royce Silver Spur 'Olympian'. These did differ from the mainstream-models with an impressive array of special features. Beside having agreed on much from the portfolio of Mulliner Park Ward (that division of Rolls-Royce and Bentley by then was concentrating on enhancements and extras rather than acting as a coachbuilder in the true sense of the word) a considerable number of distinguished modifications were asked for. In the end a 2-pages list gave an overview of peculiar specifications of the Bentley Turbo RT 'Olympian'. As regards technical features such were 'big' front disc brakes and restricted lock steering rack (identical to specifications of the 2-door Continental T), 18-inch five spoke alloy wheels and 6mm hub and driveshaft spacers fitted at the rear subframe.

Bentley Turbo RT Olympian

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It was the outward appearance and the distinguished interior that made for the special position of the 'Olympian'. Worth a note from the long list of extras are special paintwork in 'Twilight Blue' (Ref. 953 1093) exactly matching the colour of the leather (Ref. H116), supplied by Bridge of Weir, that was in rouched trim. A coachline in St. James Red was in perfect harmony with the seat’s identically coloured piping. All the woodwork of the interior was in wrapover style with neither crossbanding nor inlay. A considerably smaller rear backlight did guarantee increased privacy for rear seat passengers. The magnitude of subtle modifications and extras at a quick glance wasn't obvious – however the model's designation was given off by a red lettering boot badge OLYMPIAN fitted to the boot lid’s right hand side. Once a front door was opened a tread plate badge informed "Specially  commissioned for Jack Barclay Limited – Coachbuilt by Mulliner Park Ward" on three of the Bentley Turbo RT 'Olympian' whereas the fourth showed the name of London dealer H R Owen.

More or less identical opulent specifications – though executed to a different choice of colours as regards paintwork and trim - did enhance the Rolls-Royce Silver Spur ‘Olympian’ of which a mere two have been manufactured.

Silver Spur Olympian

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