While best known for carefully developed elite-level luxury cars for much of its history, the revered short-wheelbase, high-performance “Continental” concept of the early 1950s was revived when the modern Continental debuted in the March 1991 Geneva Motor Show. Featuring many elements from Rolls-Royce’s “Project 90” concept shown seven years prior, the Continental ended up being based largely on the startlingly powerful Turbo R of the 1980s and, produced from 1991-2002, it was essentially the “bridge” car of a storied brand, as well as one that spawned a number of thrilling variants.
Derivative of the Continental R, the Continental T featured a four-inch shorter wheelbase with extended front and rear wheel arches, sporting a special engine-turned dash and chrome-finished instruments in honor of the legendary “Bentley Boys” of prewar Le Mans fame. Enjoying a race-inspired push-button ignition, the Continental T benefitted from the tried-and-true 6.75-litre V-8 engine, which was turbocharged, intercooled, and initially uprated for 1996-1998 to 400bhp with a massive torque rating of 590 pounds-feet. While the Continental T was a product of immense quality, luxury and comfort, it was also quite heavy at about 5,000 pounds, making its 0-60 acceleration of 6.2 seconds fairly impressive. With a 157-mph top end that required just 4.96 seconds to stop from 100mph, a mere 322 examples of Bentley’s Continental T were produced from 1996-2002, making them uncommon to say the least.
Rare in today’s market, this 1998 Bentley Continental T is offered on behalf of the second owner, a member of the seller’s family. Only an approximate 27,000 original miles have been traveled by this highly rare Bentley and, as related by the seller, the vehicle’s first owner was the owner of the well-known Rusnak Auto Group of European car dealerships. Most recently, the car has been serviced by the British car specialists at Pasadena Motor Cars, with the work including all new fluids, brakes, rotors, tires, and more. Earlier this summer, the Continental T passed California emissions testing requirements, and the seller welcomes inspections by appointment. They’re are even willing to arrange for an independent inspection by a mechanic of the prospective purchaser’s choice, something we can’t day we see very often.
These very desirable and rare late-model Bentleys aren’t yet listed in Hagerty’s collector car price guides, but only six have been offered for sale on Bring a Trailer over the past 4 years. A 1998 Continental T sold for $71k in September 2019 and a 1998 Continental T Mulliner variant sold in August 2018 for $92k. Sale prices seem to need more time to catch up the awesome characteristics of these potent and posh cars. A desirable, lifelong California car, this one seems to be a quality example and, with such low stated mileage, we think it’s a great find for those who dreamt of them when new, but couldn’t have written the check until now. The asking price seems a bit high, but upon inspection it may very well be a smart purchase, and especially how rarely we come across them, we’re calling this one worth the premium.