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More Bentleys in these books:

Roßfeldt: From the dawn of the century ...

Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit & Silver Spur, Bentley Mulsanne, Eight, Continental, Brooklands & Azure

Bennet: The Crewe Years

Car of the Month - September 2003
Bentley Mulsanne Turbo, 1983, #DCH07064
Glass Roof Landau Fastback Saloon by Andy Saunders

The launch of the Bentley Mulsanne Turbo at the Geneva Salon in March 1982 was result of longer-term strategic planning: re-emergence of the Bentley marque in its own right. During a period from the early 60ies onward Bentley had lost profile more and more and was considered by many as but a Rolls-Royce “clone”. The magnificent Bentley Mulsanne Turbo became the springboard to give Bentley an image and an identity all of its own. The powerful engine combined blistering acceleration and impressive performance in the mid-speed range. Top speed was exhilarating for a luxuriously equipped 4-door saloon.

The Bentley Mulsanne Turbo did fulfil all the company’s intentions and sold very well. No chance however to escape the economic conditions in the market for ‘upper crust motor cars’. Two decades later the market value of motor cars from this model series is rather low, not only due to devaluation over the years but also a reflection of rather expensive maintenance and repair. That barrier might have been lethal, too, for the car that is shown here. It had been a 'Write-Off' by the insurance company after an accident, despite the fact that there had been but minor front damage.

Andy Saunders however considered just this one to be the perfect base to realise his Special Saloon. The design he had in mind did include a complete new front anyway and a new rear as well. A lowered roof line and an altered C-post resulted in a side-view with an identity of its own. New sills with integrated side-pipes did add to that. The interior was completely re-trimmed and a sport steering wheel substituted the original one. The real highlight was the huge glass panel set into the rear part of the roof – an adaptation of the idea of a Landaulet. With the exception of but a few state motor cars mainly for ceremonial purposes no Landaulet coachwork had been built during the post-war period.

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The conversion was time-consuming and executed with great care. Work started in October 2002 and wasn’t finished prior to May 2003. The Bentley Mulsanne Turbo declared as a “Write-Off” by the insurance company most presumably would have been dismantled for spares. Having been re-built to a unique design gave this car a second lease of life – perhaps that will last long enough to mature to the status of a Classic Car one day?

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