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Car of the Month - August 1999
Bentley T1, 1968, #CBH4033,
Coupé Speciale by Pininfarina

Bentley T1, Coupe by Pininfarina

Just in time for the 1968 Turin Motor Show Pininfarina finished work on this Bentley T, which was to become a one-off. The Two Door Fastback Saloon with its distinct sportive lines showed a clear distance to the four door standard saloon from the factory. Pininfarina had preferred a definitely more modern design than that of the quite attractive Mulliner Park Ward two door saloon designed by Bill Allen (and in 1971 given an identity of its own as Bentley Corniche).

Bentley T1 RadiatorNot even the original shape of the radiator shell had been considered to meet demands exactly and so this had been subject to certain re-styling. Those who were familiar with Pininfarina's creations did notice that the master had copied himself as regards one detail: the striking lower roof edge with lines extending as upper rear wing line had been a feature of a styling study on the basis of a Ferrari 365GT exhibited at the 1967 Paris Motor Show.

Bentley T1, Coupe by Pininfarina

Pininfarina's factory documents listed the car as a "Coupé Speciale" though sometimes the description "Berlina 2 Porte" is to be found. Presumably this car was a striking reflection of those special features, which had been the very essence of the Bentley Continental of the early post-war period. Here was a motor car perfectly suited for the owner driver, a car with a powerful engine and fine roadholding capable of covering vast distances without fatigue and there was the added bonus of the sportive design not resulting in compromises as regards passenger comfort.

Top of page Bentley T1, Coupe by Pininfarina

Not everyone does know that this Bentley T, which was listed at Archivio Pininfarina with number PF 917 made a special impact on Rolls-Royce and in fact the company did ask Pininfarina to design a big coupé - based on using the floorpan and engine of the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow too - for the following year 1969. However there was tremendous delay - mainly from problems at Rolls-Royce - prior to this new model's start in 1975. The new coupé was, of course, the Rolls-Royce Camargue, and it cannot be denied that the initial idea was sparked off by Pininfarina’s Bentley T Coupé Speciale.

Over a period of more than three decades this Pininfarina-bodied Bentley T had been subject to but marginal modifications. The original polished wheeldiscs covering the rim completely have been substituded by some to the pattern as used on the Bentley Corniche. The original chromed bumpers are no longer fitted and their place is occupied by those Polyurethan-edged bumpers which were introduced in 1976 on coachbuilt Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars to meet American safety legislation. The car’s colour however still is “Velvet Green”, such a dark shade of green, that the car appears to be black if not exposed to direct sunshine. This  Bentley which in addition to its certain charme has been a major link in the co-operation between the Italian top-designer and the noble English motor car manufacturer is a unique motor car. 

Bentley T1 at Turin Motor Show 1968
Turin Motor Show 1968: Originally Pininfarina's creation sported chromed bumpers and polished wheel discs of a special design.


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