‘…Bentley made only 72 examples of the Continental SC, developed from the Continental R and priced at a gut-twisting £245,000…’ – Octane magazine.
By the end of the 1970s, Bentleys accounted for a mere 3% of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ production, clearly a situation that could not be tolerated if the once-famous marque was to avoid extinction. The solution was to seek to re-establish Bentley’s credentials as the purveyor of high-performance luxury cars, and in a move calculated to evoke memories of the company’s glorious past achievements at Le Mans, the name ‘Mulsanne’ was chosen for the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit’s counterpart. This strategy would succeed brilliantly. Launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1982, the Mulsanne Turbo provoked a rash of headlines in the motoring press hailing the return of the ‘Blower Bentley’ – the ‘Silent Sports Car’ was back.
Bentley’s 1980s resurgence had hitherto relied exclusively on models whose basic architecture was shared with other Rolls-Royce products, but on display at Geneva in ’85 was ‘Project 90’, a mocked-up coupé intended to gauge public response to the idea of a high-performance car unique to Bentley. When the real thing – the Bentley Continental R – was unveiled six years later, the waiting crowd burst into spontaneous applause. Styled with the assistance of consultants International Automotive Design, the Continental R benefited from computer-aided design and wind tunnel testing in the devising of its sleekly streamlined shape. Despite the need to incorporate non-traditional features such as doors recessed into the roof, the result looked every bit a Bentley, albeit one restated for the 1990s. Also new was the gearbox, a four-speed automatic with an ‘overdrive’ top ratio, but the main focus of interest was the newcomer’s performance. Needless to say, this was outstanding, the combination of the Turbo R engine in the new wind-cheating shape cutting the 0-60mph time to under 6 seconds and boosting top speed to in excess of 150mph.
One of the more exclusive limited-edition variants of this already exclusive model was the Continental SC, its name referencing the exotic Sedanca Coupé bodied Bentleys of the 1930s. Launched at the 1998 Paris Show, the Continental SC featured a Targa-style removable roof, the glass panels being stored in the boot. ‘The SC may be massive, but it obviously isn’t so massive that 400-odd horses can’t give it genuinely impressive punch. The eerie part though, is the absolute silence.’ Clearly, the SC’s designers had not lost sight of Bentley’s reputation as ‘The Silent Sports Car’.
Delivered new to the USA, this wonderful left-hand drive Continental SC has covered only 48,000 miles and comes with its books and history. Described as in generally good condition, with nothing negative to report, this rarest of modern Bentleys is offered with the aforementioned service history, and V5C registration document. Rarely are these cars offered on the open market.