After nearly two decades of quietly marching along in the shadow of parent brand Rolls-Royce, Bentley Motors finally got the freedom to create a unique new model aimed at rejuvenating the firm’s sporting reputation. Building upon the commercial success of the Mulsanne Turbo and surprisingly quick Turbo R saloons, designers set out to create a high-performance yet opulent four-seat grand touring coupe in the spirit of the R-Type Mulliner Fastback of the 1950s. The gorgeous Continental R debuted in 1991, sharing its underpinnings with the Turbo R, including the 330 horsepower 6.75-liter turbocharged V8. What set the Continental R apart was its sleek, elegant two-door coupe coachwork, penned in-house by John Heffernan and Ken Greenley. Upon the surprise debut of the Continental R at the 1991 Geneva Motor Show, it was met with praise and awe by journalists and the public alike, and more than 1,200 were sold in the car’s eleven-year production run. It was the first Bentley since the 1960s to not share a body with Rolls-Royce, and it marked a critical turning point for Bentley as it reemerged from the shadow of its parent company.
Despite being the most expensive four-seat car in the world, customers soon demanded more exclusivity, and Bentley responded with a bespoke customization program under the legendary Mulliner name. The special edition Continental R Mulliner arrived in 1999 and featured the brawny, short-wheelbase Continental T’s revised turbocharged, intercooled V8 rated at 420 horsepower and a thumping 650 lb-ft of torque, set into the standard wheelbase chassis. The R Mulliner also wore the flared and widened fenders of the T, with reworked bumpers for a considerably more aggressive yet still elegant appearance.
Various special editions trickled out, many using the R Mulliner as a basis. These included the R 420, R Le Mans, California Edition, and the Millennium Edition, as presented here. As the name implies, the Continental R Millennium Edition was produced exclusively for the 2000 model year. It was an exceedingly limited version, with just ten numbered cars built, all for the North American market. Each featured special paint, additional wood trim, unique badging, a green starter button, a laser-cut radiator grille matrix, and 18-inch chrome wheels. For these niceties, and the opportunity to own a limited-run Bentley, ten buyers shelled out an additional $20,000 over the price of a Continental R Mulliner.
This beautiful example is car number 9 of 10, attractively finished in Silver Storm over Cinder Connolly hides. It shows just 18,400 miles from new, and presents in superb original condition inside and out, accompanied by a clean Carfax report, original tool kit, and owner’s manual. Options include the burl wood dash, embroidered logo headrests, heated front seats with memory, chrome shift knob, wood veneer steering wheel, aluminum pedals, and a spare wheel kit.
The beautiful Silver Storm paint suits the muscular widebody form exceptionally well. The paintwork is in excellent condition, thanks to discreet, professionally installed paint protection film applied to the bonnet, front fascia, and front wings. Panel fit is to precise factory standards, with consistent, even gaps and an assuredly solid feel from the large doors. Lamps, lenses, and other trim are all in excellent original order. The big fender flares accommodate correct five-spoke chromed alloy wheels, shod with massive 285/45 ZR-18 Pirellis on all four corners. The wheels are in excellent overall condition, with minor imperfections noted on the center caps.
The four-seat cabin is equally well preserved, with lovely medium gray leather and carpets accented with blue over-mats. Chrome door plates announce this as Millennium Edition number 9 of 10. Gorgeous burl wood trim covers the instrument fascia, door caps, lower door panels, and center console, which contrasts pleasingly with chrome fittings and switchgear. While some slight wear is noted on the outer seat bolsters, the remainder of the leather – which extends to the door cards and full headliner, is supple and superb.
Mechanically, this Bentley is in excellent working order, and the Carfax report appears to show consistent maintenance throughout its ownership history. Most recently, it was serviced by the highly regarded British Automotive Repair of Scottsdale, Arizona. It runs and drives well, with deceptively rapid acceleration from the mighty 6.75-litre turbocharged, intercooled V8 and the refinement and luxury expected of a limited-production Bentley. Immensely powerful, opulent, and highly collectible, this Continental R Millennium Edition offers the thrilling performance of the R Mulliner with even greater exclusivity.
Offers welcome and trades considered