1997 Bentley Continental R


  • Lovely specification
  • Excellent service and maintenance record
  • Just 66,000 miles from new
  • 6.75-litre turbocharged V8

The Appeal

Little else in the world of transport is as opulently finished and beautifully detailed as a Rolls-Royce era Bentley. While power and performance may always have been described as “sufficient”, luxury and quality were very firmly off-the-scale. Material quality is gorgeous, with incredible fit and finish, offering the kind of rich grandeur you’d expect to see in the Orient Express, or a high-end yacht.

Here we have a very nicely specified example, well preserved and in fine factory condition. It benefits from a superb service record and maintenance history, and sits with just 66,000 miles on the clock. This suave two-door über-coupe certainly strikes an imposing figure, making much more impact than many modern luxury cars. Replete with charm and attractive styling in and out, it’s the perfect car for anyone who appreciates the unique blend of performance and traditional details that mark out Bentleys from this period.

There can be few finer ways to traverse distances or arrive in style than the Continental R – if it’s a car that’s been on your radar, we’d highly recommend giving this lovely specimen careful consideration…

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The History and Paperwork

  • First registered April 1997
  • Five owners from new
  • The first three owners were UK based and covered about 41,000 miles in 16 years, with the service record showing 20 services in this period
  • The car was then bought by an owner in Holland, who added approximately 20,000 miles and had the car serviced at a Dutch marque specialist
  • Current owner acquired the car from Vintage & Prestige, February 2017, with just under 61,000 miles on the clock
  • Currently about 66,000 miles
  • Always garaged by the vendor, and used primarily on dry days and for events and club meets
  • Maintained by the vendor using Steve Gallimore Motors, with the last service in September 2022 at 65,655 miles
  • Owner’s handbook, four keys, one alarm remote
  • Comprehensive file of invoices and records for servicing and maintenance
  • MOT to September 2023
  • This car was displayed by Bentley as part of an event at their Crewe headquarters, marking “Cars from every decade of Bentley” 

The Interior

  • Beige leather with red secondary leather
  • Alpine media centre with satellite navigation
  • Electric windows and door mirrors
  • Electrically operated front seats, with memory and heating functions
  • Dual zone air conditioning

Liberally swathing nearly every surface in the cabin, the upholstery of this Bentley is a symphony of fine quality leather and highly figured wood. The leather presents in excellent condition, with no notable wear or damage to report, merely some light weathering and creasing commensurate with the vehicle’s age – most notable on the driver’s seat, but still rather minimal.

Neatly complementing the red piping and secondary leather of the upper dash, the carpets are the usual deep-pile, Bentley items. Finished in deep red, there’s a slight amount of the usual wear in the driver’s footwell, but otherwise they look to be in fine fettle. Also included are the original lambswool floor mats, again dyed in deep red to match the carpets.

Overhead, the headlining, consisting of more lovely, supple leather, has a ribbed design and shows no evidence of sagging, damage or any staining.

As mentioned before, lovely burr walnut adorns the door caps and dashboard, showing in excellent order, with no warping or cracking we could identify. The rest of the trim and switchgear looks to be in similar condition, with some gentle wear and patination, but no damage and nothing missing, as far as we could see.

We’re told by the vendor that everything works as it should, with no faults or issues reported. They tell us they were told that the period phone, factory fitted in the centre armrest, works. However, they have never tested this themselves.

Predictably, the boot of this vast two-door is gargantuan. Trimmed out in neat red carpet, as with the main cabin, it’s a very generous space and offers all the luggage capacity you could reasonably require. Under the floor panel there is a full-size spare, while a toolkit is also present and correct.

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The Exterior

  • Gorgeous red paintwork
  • Striking two-door coupe styling
  • Quad headlamps and iconic mesh grille
  • Original 17-inch factory alloys

A deep, lustrous ruby colour, that paintwork has been very well kept and features a neat contrasting gold coachline that highlights the car’s shoulder line. There are a few very minor blemishes and a couple of stone chips that have been touched in, as should be expected of any car, but overall it’s presented in very good order. 

Likewise, the bodywork looks neat and straight, with undamaged panels, even gaps and no corrosion we could identify. The glass, light lenses, brightwork and other trim elements look very clean too, with no obvious issues. We’re told by the vendor that the front and rear bumpers have been repainted during their ownership, with the brightwork on these being refreshed too.

Underneath, it’s immediately clear that this Continental R has been well maintained and carefully used. The floors and sills look to be very straight and clean, while the drivetrain components look similarly solid. Everything generally looks to have been nicely preserved.

We’re pleased to see the car still sitting on the correct 17-inch factory alloys. They were a smart polished finish and look to be in fine overall condition. They are shod in a matched set of Avon tyres that appear to have good tread levels too.

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The Mechanics

  • 6,750cc turbocharged V8
  • Four-speed automatic transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Power-assisted steering
  • Anti-lock braking system

As ever with Rolls-Royce and Bentley products from this period, performance is provided by that marvellously barrel-chested 6.75-litre V8, this time with the additional breathing offered by a turbocharger. While the marque only ever said that power was “sufficient”, period tests indicate somewhere in the region of 385hp and 550lb-ft is on offer. Enough for a “sub six-seconds” 0-60mph run and a 155mph top speed – quite something for a 2.5-tonne luxury coupe.

The vendor tells us they have had a power steering leak addressed and had consumables replaced as needed, besides the usual servicing. We’re informed that the car runs very well, with no mechanical issues or problems that the vendor is aware of.


If what you value in a grand tourer is stately grandeur, incredible material quality and effortless ability, then the Continental R is very much for you. This example, with its smart specification and excellent history, must surely be high on the list of anyone who values engineering excellence and the highest quality of finish.

Notice to bidders
This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1997
  • Make Bentley
  • Model Continental
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 66,000 Miles
  • Engine size 6750
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Todmorden
  • Location Lancashire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
17 bids
  • iusto_1•••• £30,500 31/05/23
  • Shallow•••• £30,000 31/05/23
  • Blossom•••• £27,000 31/05/23
  • Stephen•••• £26,500 31/05/23
  • Shallow•••• £25,000 31/05/23
  • Blossom•••• £22,000 31/05/23
  • Shallow•••• £21,000 31/05/23
  • deangil•••• £20,500 27/05/23
  • david-n•••• £20,000 27/05/23
  • shay-so•••• £19,500 27/05/23

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