Volkswagen AG, known internationally as the Volkswagen Group, is a German multinational automotive manufacturing company headquartered in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony and indirectly majority owned by the Austrian Porsche-Piëch family. It designs and distributes passenger and commercial vehicles, motorcycles and turbomachinery and offers related services including financing and fleet management. In 2016, it was the world's largest automaker by sales, overtaking Toyota and keeping this title in 2017 and 2018, selling 10.8 million vehicles. It has maintained the largest market share in Europe for over two decades, it ranked seventh in the 2018 Fortune Global 500 list of the world's largest companies. Volkswagen Group sells passenger cars under the Audi, Bugatti, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda and the flagship Volkswagen marques, it is divided into two primary divisions, the Automotive Division and the Financial Services Division, as of 2008 had 342 subsidiary companies. Volkswagen has two major joint-ventures in China.
The company has operations in 150 countries and operates 100 production facilities across 27 countries. Volkswagen was founded in 1937; the company's production grew in the 1950s and 1960s, in 1965 it acquired Auto Union, which subsequently produced the first post-war Audi models. Volkswagen launched a new generation of front-wheel drive vehicles in the 1970s, including the Passat and Golf. Volkswagen acquired a controlling stake in SEAT in 1986, making it the first non-German marque of the company, acquired control of Škoda in 1994, of Bentley and Bugatti in 1998, Scania in 2008 and of Ducati, MAN and Porsche in 2012; the company's operations in China have grown in the past decade with the country becoming its largest market. In June 2018, Volkswagen Trucks and Buses which comprises the MAN, RIO truck brands are renamed to TRATON AG but the marques will not change, said by Andreas Renschler. Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft is a public company and has a primary listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, where it is a constituent of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index, secondary listings on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, SIX Swiss Exchange.
It has been traded in the United States via American depositary receipts since 1988 on the OTC Marketplace. Volkswagen delisted from the London Stock Exchange in 2013; the state of Lower Saxony holds 12.7 % of the company's shares. Volkswagen was founded on 28 May 1937 in Berlin as the Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH by the National Socialist Deutsche Arbeitsfront; the purpose of the company was to manufacture the Volkswagen car referred to as the Porsche Type 60 the Volkswagen Type 1, called the Volkswagen Beetle. This vehicle was designed by Ferdinand Porsche's consulting firm, the company was backed by the support of Adolf Hitler. On 16 September 1938, Gezuvor was renamed Volkswagenwerk GmbH. Shortly after the factory near Fallersleben was completed, World War II started and the plant manufactured the military Kübelwagen and the related amphibious Schwimmwagen, both of which were derived from the Volkswagen. Only a small number of Type 60 Volkswagens were made during this time.
The Fallersleben plant manufactured the V-1 flying bomb, making the plant a major bombing target for the Allied forces. After the war in Europe, in June 1945, Major Ivan Hirst of the British Army Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers took control of the bomb-shattered factory, restarted production, pending the expected disposal of the plant as war reparations. However, no British car manufacturer was interested. To build the car commercially would be a uneconomic enterprise". In 1948, the Ford Motor Company of USA was offered Volkswagen, but Ernest Breech, a Ford executive vice president said he didn't think either the plant or the car was "worth a damn." Breech said that he would have considered merging Ford of Germany and Volkswagen, but after the war, ownership of the company was in such dispute that nobody could hope to be able to take it over. As part of the Industrial plans for Germany, large parts of German industry, including Volkswagen, were to be dismantled. Total German car production was set at a maximum of 10% of the 1936 car production numbers.
The company survived by producing cars for the British Army, in 1948 the British Government handed the company back over to the German state, it was managed by former Opel chief Heinrich Nordhoff. Production of the Type 60 Volkswagen started after the war due to the need to rebuild the plant and because of the lack of raw materials, but production grew in the 1950s and 1960s; the company began introducing new models based on the Type 1, all with the same basic air-cooled, rear-engine, rear-drive platform. These included the Volkswagen Type 2 in 1950, the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia in 1955, the Volkswagen Type 3 in 1961, the Volkswagen Type 4 in 1968, the Volkswagen Type 181 in 1969. In 1960, upon t
Rolls-Royce–Bentley L-series V8 engine
The Rolls-Royce–Bentley L-series V8 engine was introduced in 1959 and is still in production. Built in Crewe, it was used on most Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles in the four decades after its introduction and is still used in the Bentley Mulsanne. With BMW's acquisition of the rights to use the Rolls Royce name in 1998, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars began using BMW supplied V12 engines but Bentley Motors Limited under Volkswagen ownership continued to use modified versions of the L series on its Arnage and Mulsanne models, with VAG W-12 engines being used in its Flying Spur and Continental models; the first engine of V8 configuration was developed in 1904 by the Marmon Motor Car Company in the United States. It was experimental and did not find its way into a passenger vehicle. Rolls-Royce premiered the world's second V8 engine in 1905 for their Rolls-Royce V-8 Legalimit – governed not to exceed the legal speed limit in Britain at the time of 20 mph, it was not a success, with only three made and just one sold, soon returned to the factory to be scrapped.
It was another decade. Rolls-Royce acquired Bentley in 1931 and continued to use Bentley engines alongside their own for a time, although none was a V8. Prior to World War II, Rolls-Royce had developed a 7.3-litre V-12 for the Phantom III, succeeded by the inlet-over-exhaust B60 straight-6 and B80 straight-8 series of engines. The B80 powered the Phantom IV limousine, whilst the 4.3-litre B60 was used until 1955 to power the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith and Silver Dawn and the Bentley Mark VI. The B60's bore was enlarged in 1955, increasing the displacement to 4.9 litres, that engine being known as the B61. The need for a new engine was recognised by Rolls Royce in the early 1950s and its development began in 1952, bearing no relation to the 1905 Rolls-Royce V8; the result was a series of V8 engines known as the L series, more the "L410" for its bore size of 4.1 in, in keeping with company practice. Developments of the L410 continued in production powering Rolls-Royces up to 1998 and Bentleys into the 21st century.
Bentley, under Volkswagen ownership since 1998, continues to develop the L410 for its range of cars. Rolls-Royce ceased using the L410 with the switch to BMW ownership of that brand in March 1998 and introduction of a BMW sourced V12 engine in the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph. Since 1998 therefore and use of the L410 engine can be said to have been a Bentley enterprise; the factory nomenclature for the L-series V8 engines, in chronological order, is as follows: L380 1950s 5,204 cc initial development version L410 1959 6,230 cc production version powering Silver Cloud II, S2 series L425 1965 7,439 cc experimental version L410B 1965 6,230 cc updated production version powering Silver Shadow and T series L410 1970 6,750 cc production version, capacity increase achieved by'stroking' to 3.9-inch L410E 1970s 7,269 cc development version with 4.2-inch stroke L380 1970s 5,352 cc "Thermodynamically Optimised Porsche" experimental version L410D 1982 6,750 cc turbocharged production version installed in Bentley Mulsanne L410I 1986 6,750 cc fuel injected version L410IT 1987 6,750 cc fuel injected production version in Bentley Mulsanne Turbo L410ITI 1991 6,750 cc fuel injected, intercooled production version of Bentley Turbo R & S and Continental R & S L410MT 1997 6,750 cc low pressure turbo L410MT/S 1997 6,750 cc turbo L675 1998 6,750 cc development name for Arnage version of the turbo reverted to "L410" L410TT 2007 6,750 cc production version introducing twin MHI turbochargers with intercooler L410HT 2009 6,750 cc variable cam phasing "high-torque" production version for 2009 Mulsanne LM 841 c1963-4 6,230 cc 240 bhp marinised version of the engine available with port or starboard crank rotations The engine was of an overhead valve design, angled at 90 degrees, featured a central camshaft and wedge-shaped combustion chambers.
As released, the bore x stroke was 4.1 in × 3.6 in and displaced 6,230 cc, rounded up to describe it as the six and a quarter litre engine. When new, the Rolls-Royce/Bentley V8 was rumoured to be an American engine design licence-built, but it was developed in-house by Rolls-Royce and Bentley engineers; this can be seen in its design characteristics, with features like an aluminium alloy cylinder block with wet liners, gear-driven camshaft, outboard spark plugs and porting inspired by the Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engine. The bore spacing of 4 3⁄4 in was unlike any American V8 engine and the firing order was 1-5-4-8-6-3-7-2 something uncommon in any period American OHV V8; the deep skirted crankcase design is rare with American V8 engines. Rolls-Royce however did use General Motors transmissions in their vehicles, notably the Hydramatic in Silver Cloud and the Turbo-Hydramatic in the Silver Shadow; the marine version of the engine was sold directly as a "complete power pack". It was rated as being able to produce 220 bhp at 4000 rpm continuously for 12 hours, with peak power of 240 bhp at 4200 rpm.
It was available with either direction of crankshaft rotation to suit starboard propellors. Engine cooling was closed loop glycol with heat exchangers to pumped sea water, it was supplied complete with a BorgWarner "velvet drive" gearbox. Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and III R
The layout of a car is defined by the location of the engine and drive wheels. Layouts can be divided into three categories: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. Many different combinations of engine location and driven wheels are found in practice, the location of each is dependent on the application for which the car will be used; the front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout places both the internal combustion engine and driven wheels at the front of the vehicle. This is the most common layout for cars since the late 20th century; some early front-wheel drive cars from the 1930s had the engine located in the middle of the car. A rear-engine, front-wheel-drive layout is one in which the engine is between or behind the rear wheels, drives the front wheels via a driveshaft, the complete reverse of a conventional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicle layout; this layout has only been used on concept cars. The front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout is one where the engine is located at the front of the vehicle and driven wheels are located at the rear.
This was the traditional automobile layout for most of the 20th century, remains the most common layout for rear-wheel drive cars. The mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout is one where the rear wheels are driven by an engine placed just in front of them, behind the passenger compartment. In contrast to the rear-engined RR layout, the center of mass of the engine is in front of the rear axle; this layout is chosen for its low moment of inertia and favorable weight distribution. The rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout places both the engine and drive wheels at the rear of the vehicle. In contrast to the MR layout, the center of mass of the engine is between the rear axle and the rear bumper. Although common in transit buses and coaches due to the elimination of the drive shaft with low-floor bus, this layout has become rare in passenger cars; the Porsche 911 is notable for its continuous use of the RR layout since 1963. Car drivetrains where power can be sent to all four wheels are referred to as either four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The front-engine, four-wheel drive layout places the engine at the front of the vehicle and drives all four roadwheels. This layout is chosen for better control on many surfaces, is an important part of rally racing as well as off-road driving. Most four-wheel-drive layouts are front-engined and are derivatives of earlier front-engine, rear-wheel-drive designs; the mid-engine, four-wheel drive layout places the engine in the middle of the vehicle, between both axles and drives all four road wheels. Although the term "mid-engine" can mean the engine is placed anywhere in the car such that the centre of gravity of the engine lies between the front and rear axles, it is used for sports cars and racing cars where the engine is behind the passenger compartment; the motive output is sent down a shaft to a differential in the centre of the car, which in the case of an M4 layout, distributes power to both front and rear axles. The rear-engine, four-wheel drive layout places the engine at the rear of the vehicle, drives all four wheels.
This layout is chosen to improve the traction or the handling of existing vehicle designs using the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. For example, the Porsche 911 added all-wheel drive to the existing line-up of rear-wheel drive models in 1989. Automobile handling Car classification Drivetrain layout
Bentley Brooklands is the name of two distinct models made by Bentley Motors. The first Brooklands was a full-size luxury saloon, launched in 1992 to replace the Bentley Mulsanne and in turn succeeded by the Bentley Arnage in 1998. Bentley resurrected the nameplate in 2007 with the Brooklands Coupé, a 2-door, 4-seater hardtop coupé version of the Bentley Azure made between 2008 and 2011 in limited numbers; these cars were named after the Brooklands banked race track in Surrey, where Bentley obtained some of its greatest triumphs in the 1920s and 1930s. The Bentley Brooklands was introduced in 1992 as a replacement for the Bentley Mulsanne S and Bentley Eight models, it was intended as a cheaper alternative to the Bentley Turbo R, featuring the same styling and the Rolls-Royce 6.75-litre V8 engine, but without the more powerful model's turbocharger. The Brooklands continued Bentley's angular design theme, used on contemporary Rolls-Royce vehicles, throughout the 1980s and early 1990s; the exterior design featured the classic Bentley waterfall grille as well as dual headlights with wraparound parking lights.
As in many Bentley and Rolls-Royce vehicles, the Brooklands featured the trademark descending bootlid and chrome B-pillars. The interior remained unchanged from previous Bentley models, with more curvaceous design elements surrounding the leather-wrapped centre console; the steering wheel and interior door panels remained unchanged. The interior continued to be surrounded by ample woodgrain which featured engraved, lighter-colored outlines on the door panels. In the U. S. prices for the Brooklands started at around $156,500. The 1992–1997 Brooklands was driven by a 6.75-litre Rolls-Royce V8 engine with a four-speed automatic transmission. The vehicle was rear-wheel drive, featured independent front and rear suspension. While not as large as some other ultra-luxury cars, the Brooklands remained quite large with an overall length of 5,370 millimetres and wheelbase of 3,162 millimetres. In autumn of 1996 Brooklands received an update in a form of light-pressure turbo, boosting power output to 300 bhp.
In 1998, there was a Brooklands R derivative available, with suspension upgrade borrowed from Turbo R model and with a light-pressure turbo, that should be seen as a replacement for standard Brooklands. Cars were badged as'Brooklands R'; the second Bentley Brooklands is a fixed-head version of the Bentley Azure, featuring a two-door, four-seater pillarless hardtop coupé body, eliminating the B-pillars. It was unveiled at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show; as a hand-assembled car made in small numbers, employing traditional coach-building techniques and craftsmanship skills in wood and leather, the Brooklands Coupé was the true successor to the discontinued Bentley Continental R and T. Planned lifetime production was limited at 550 cars, deliveries started in the first half of 2008; the Brooklands is powered by a 6.75-litre Bentley L Series twin-turbocharged OHV V8 engine, producing 530 bhp at 4,000 rpm and 1,050 N⋅m at 3,250 rpm, at the time the highest torque developed by a production petrol V8 engine.
The engine was linked to a reinforced 6-speed ZF torque converter automatic, with a Tiptronic manual gear selection function. A Carbon fibre-reinforced Silicon Carbide ceramic composite braking system with 14-inch SGL Carbon brake discs was optional, with 20-inch wheels only. 0 to 60 mph: 5.0 seconds 0 to 100 km/h: 5.3 seconds Top speed: 296 km/h 0 to 100 mph: 11.7 seconds Bentley Motors official international portal 2008 Brooklands on Bentley Motors' media site Bentley Brooklands Image Gallery
Bentley R Type
The Bentley R Type is the second series of post-war Bentley automobiles, replacing the Mark VI. A larger-boot version of the Mk VI, the R type is regarded by some as a stop-gap before the introduction of the S series cars in 1955; as with its predecessor, a standard body was available as well as coachbuilt versions by firms including H. J. Mulliner & Co. Park Ward, Harold Radford and Webb, Carrosserie Worblaufen and others. Other than the radiator grilles and the carburation there was little difference between the standard Bentley R Type and the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn; the R Type was the more popular marque, with some 2,500 units manufactured during its run to the Silver Dawn's 760. During development it was referred to as the Bentley Mark VII; the R Type name, now applied stems from chassis series RT. The front of the saloon model was identical to the Mark VI, but the boot was doubled in capacity; the engine displacement was 4½ litres, as fitted to versions of the Mark VI. An automatic choke was fitted to the R-type's carburettor.
The attachment of the rear springs to the chassis was altered in detail between the Mark VI and the R Type. For buyers looking for a more distinctive car, a decreasing number had custom coachwork available from the dwindling number of UK coachbuilders; these ranged from the grand flowing lines of Freestone and Webb's conservative prewar shapes, to the practical conversions of Harold Radford which including a clamshell style tailgate and folding rear seats. All R Type models use an iron-block/aluminium-head straight-6 engine fed by twin SU Type H6 carburettors; the basic engine displaced 4,566 cc with a 92 mm bore and 114.3 mm stroke. A 4-speed manual transmission was standard with a 4-speed automatic option becoming standard on cars; as of 2017, it remains the last car by Bentley to be sold with a manual transmission. The suspension was independent at the front using coil springs with semi elliptic leaf springs at the rear; the brakes used 12.25 in drums all round and were operated hydraulically at the front and mechanically at the rear via a gearbox driven servo.
The first example is the standard steel saloon built by Bentley, but a number of customers opted for a bare chassis, taken to a coachbuilder of their choice. A four door saloon with automatic transmission tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1953 had a top speed of 101.7 mph and could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 13.25 seconds. A fuel consumption of 15.5 miles per imperial gallon was recorded. The test car cost £4481 including taxes; the R-Type Continental was a high-performance version of the R-Type. It was the fastest four-seat car in production at the time; the prototype was developed by a team of designers and engineers from Rolls-Royce Ltd. and coachbuilder H. J. Mulliner & Co. led by Rolls-Royce's Chief Project Engineer, Ivan Evernden. Rolls-Royce worked with H. J. Mulliner instead of their own coachbuilding subsidiary Park Ward because the former had developed a lightweight body construction system using metal throughout instead of the traditional ash-framed bodies; the styling, finalised by Stanley Watts of H. J. Mulliner, was influenced by aerodynamic testing conducted at Rolls-Royce's wind tunnel by Evernden's assistant, Milford Read.
The rear fins stabilised the car at speed and made it resistant to changes in direction due to crosswinds. A maximum kerb weight of 34 long hundredweight was specified to keep the tyres within a safe load limit at a top speed of 120 mph; the prototype, with chassis number 9-B-VI and registration number OLG-490, which earned it the nickname "Olga", was on the road by August 1951. Olga and the first series of production Continentals were based on the Mark VI chassis, used a manual mixture control on the steering wheel boss, as these versions did not have an automatic choke; the early R Type Continental has the same engine as the standard R Type, but with modified carburation and exhaust manifolds along with higher gear ratios. The compression ratio was raised to 7.25:1 from the standard 6.75:1, while the final gear ratio was raised from 3.41 to 3.07. Despite its name, the two-door Continental was produced principally for the domestic home market, most of the 207 cars produced were right-hand drive, with 43 left-hand drive examples produced for use abroad.
The chassis was produced at the Rolls-Royce Crewe factory and shared many components with the standard R type. R-Type Continentals were delivered as rolling chassis to the coachbuilder of choice. Coachwork for most of these cars was completed by H. J. Mulliner & Co. who built them in fastback coupe form. Other coachwork came from Park Ward who built six including a drophead coupe version. Franay built five, Graber built three, one of them altered by Köng, Pininfarina made one. James Young built in 1954 a Sports Saloon for the owner of James Barclay. After July 1954, the car was fitted with an engine with a larger bore of 94.62 mm, giving a total displacement of 4.9 L. The rarity of the R Type Continental has made the car valuable to car collectors. In 2015 a 1952 R Type Continental, in unrestored condition, sold for over $1 million USD. R Type: 2323 R Type Continental: 208 Bennett, Martin. Bentley Continental: Corniche & Azure 1951-2002. Foreword by John Blatchley. Dorchester, UK: Veloce Publishing.
ISBN 978-1-84584-210-9. Retrieved 16 October 2014. Culshaw, David.
Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit
The Silver Spirit is a full-size luxury car produced by Rolls-Royce Motors, in Crewe, from 1980 to 1999. It was the first model in the SZ series; the Silver Spur is a long-wheelbase version of the Silver Spirit, produced at the same time. It was the first car to feature the retractable Spirit of Ecstasy; the spring-loaded Mascot sank into the radiator shell. The Silver Spirit was introduced by Rolls-Royce in 1980 as the first of a new generation of company models, it formed the basis for the Flying Spur, Silver Dawn, Touring Limousine, Park Ward, Bentley Mulsanne/Eight series. The Spirit/Spur carried over the basic design of the Silver Shadow, its 6.75 L L410 V8 engine and GM sourced THM 400 3-speed automatic gearbox, styled unitary bodywork manufactured at Pressed Steel. The Spur/Spirit continued the Silver Shadow's emphasis on ride quality by utilising its hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension, modified with Girling automatic hydraulic ride height control system and gas-charged shock absorbers The Silver Spirit II and Silver Spur II were refinements of the original models, introduced at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Suspension design saw the most change, with "Automatic Ride Control" introduced, a automatic system that adjusted dampers at all four wheels in real time. Other updates included fuel injection as standard for all models. Retaining the three-speed Turbo Hydramatic GM400 transmission from earlier Spirits/Spurs, a four-speed unit was introduced in the winter of 1991; the size of the petrol tank was increased, up to 107 L the car's range was now up to well over 500 km. Exterior and interior changes were minimal, with a smaller steering wheel and two additional ventilation outlets added to the fascia mildly modernising the look up front; the Silver Spirit III and Silver Spur III were introduced in 1993, featuring engine improvements and some cosmetic updates. A new design of intake manifold and cylinder heads increased power output; the parameters of the semi-active suspension system were modified so that shock absorbers would default into "soft" ride mode when they wore out. Dual airbags were introduced inside, along with independent adjustment of the rear seats.
The 1994–1995 Flying Spur was a turbocharged, higher performance version of the Silver Spur III. 134 cars were produced. The Silver Dawn is a special edition of the Silver Spur III with several additional options, such as Electronic Traction Assistance System and rear seat heaters; the radiator height is reduced by 51 mm and the size of the Spirit of Ecstasy was reduced by 20 percent. The new front was inherited by the Mark IV series. Silver Dawn appeared one year earlier on the American market. Designed in the autumn of 1992, the New Silver Spirit/New Silver Spur was the final revision of the Silver Spirit and Silver Spur, introduced late in 1995 as a 1996-year model. A marketing decision had been made that the cars should not get a "series IV" designation because the suffix "IV" was found to be inappropriate in some Far Eastern countries where it is a symbol of death. Major changes included the introduction of a Garrett turbocharger on all models and the replacement of the previous Bosch engine management systems with one by Zytec.
New were updated integrated front and rear bumpers and sixteen-inch wheels. As of 1997, the long wheelbase became standard, with limousine models offered in extra-long only. Inside, a wooden column running down the centre of the dashboard was added. Silver Spirit production closed with the model year 1997, although vehicles continued to be produced through 2000 to use up Silver Spirit bodies and parts remaining in stock; the Rolls-Royce Park Ward Limousine is a limited edition Silver Spur/Spirit mark IV with a 610-millimetre extended wheelbase and a 51 mm taller roof. The Park Ward replaced the Silver Spur/Spirit Touring Limousine. In the middle of model year 1998 the name was changed to Rolls-Royce Silver Spur Park Ward; the model nomenclature on the badge on the boot compartment lid says Park Ward. Standard equipment on this model included a bar cabinet with crystal decanters and goblets, intercom, an electrically operated division and a backseat sunroof. Rolls-Royce Park Ward Limousine should not be confused with succeeding stretched Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph Park Ward 2000-2002.
Rolls-Royce touring limousines were built to a Robert Jankel design in cooperation with coach builder Mulliner Park Ward, London. The first Silver Spur Limousine was produced in 1982. 16 cars had the 910 mm extended wheelbases, 84 cars with 1,100 mm extended wheelbases were produced in 1984 and later. One car had 360 mm wheelbase extension; these cars were extended between the front and rear doors. From 1991 on, 99 units of the Touring Limousine with 610 mm wheelbase extension were produced; the car was lengthened at the C-pillar with an opera window added, in a style reminiscent of Rolls-Royce's Phantom V and Phantom VI models. Like these earlier models, most of the cars had fold-down occasional seats in the rear passenger area; the Park Ward Limousine was the last one to be extended with 70-unit production commencing in 1996 and concluding in 1999. Years are the model years based on the VIN. 1980-1989 Silver Spirit: 8126 1980-1989 Silver Spur: 6240 1985 Silver Spur Centenary: 26 1982-1985 Silver Spur Extended 910 mm: 16 1984 Silver Spur Extended 360 mm: 1 1984-1988 Silver Spur Extended 1,100 mm: 84 1990-1993 Silver Spirit II: 1152 1990-1993 Silver Spur II: 1658 1990-1991 Mulliner Spur: 71
Bentley Continental R
The Bentley Continental R was a luxury coupé made by Bentley from 1991 to 2003. It was the first Bentley to feature a body not shared with a Rolls-Royce model since the S3 Continental of 1965, the first to use the GM 4L80-E transmission, the fastest, most expensive, most powerful Bentley of its day, it was the most expensive production car in the world at launch. A convertible derivative, the Bentley Azure, was launched in 1995; as Managing Director of Rolls Royce Motor Cars in the early 1980s, David Plastow could see the potential in the Bentley brand. It had been neglected for the previous 15 years and made up only a small percentage of the company's sales at that time outside the UK in important markets such as the USA; the first move was to turbo charge the standard Bentley 4 door saloon: the Bentley Mulsanne Turbo was launched in 1982. On the back of this, Peter Ward, marketing director at the company, wanted to further enhance the distinctive sporting nature of the Bentley brand and move away from a Bentley, a re-badged Rolls Royce.
They appointed stylists John Heffernan and Ken Greenley to come up with ideas for a new, Bentley coupé. The fibreglass mock up was displayed at the 1984 Geneva Motor Show in Rolls-Royce's "Project 90" concept of a future Bentley coupé; the concept was met with an enthusiastic reception, but the Project 90 design was shelved as the company began to work towards a replacement for the Rolls-Royce Corniche. During this process, Graham Hull, chief stylist in house at Rolls Royce, suggested the designs before the board for the Corniche, would suit a Bentley coupé better. From this point it was decided the Corniche could continue as it was, efforts would once again be channelled into a new Bentley coupé. In 1986 Graham Hull produced a design rendering of a new Bentley coupé which became the Continental R. Based on the Rolls-Royce SZ platform, an aerodynamically shaped two-door coupé body had been styled. John Heffernan and Ken Greenley were retained to complete the design of the Continental R, they had run the Automotive Design School at the Royal College of Art and headed up their own consultancy, International Automotive Design, based in Worthing, Southern England.
Greenley and Heffernan liaised throughout the styling process with Graham Hull. The interior was the work of Graham Hull and the small in house styling team at Rolls Royce; the shape of the car was different from the somewhat slab sided four-door SZ Rolls-Royce and Bentley vehicles of the time and offered a much improved 0.37 coefficient of drag. The Continental R featured roof-cut door frames, a necessity to allow easier access into the car which had a lower roofline than its 4-door saloon contemporaries. A subtle spoiler effect was a feature of the rear; the finished car is acknowledged as a cleverly and attractively styled vehicle disguising its huge dimensions. The "Continental" designation recalls the Bentley Continental of the post-war period; the "R" was meant to recall the R Type Bentleys from the 1950s as well as the Turbo R of the 1980s and 90s where the "R" refers to "roadholding". The revival of the Bentley marque following the introduction of the Bentley Mulsanne Turbo, the Continental R, is acknowledged to have saved Rolls Royce Motor cars and formed the groundwork which led to the buyout and parting of the Rolls Royce and Bentley brands in 1998.
Bentley was once again capable of standing alone as a marque in its own right. A completed pre-production Continental R was secretly taken to Switzerland for a surprise launch of the model at the 1991 Geneva Motor Show, it was driven from behind a wall on the Rolls Royce stand to Handel's Zadok the Priest and the Sultan of Brunei purchased the show car at the event for over £2m. The new Mercedes S Class, W140 launched at the show, was upstaged by the unexpected, vermilion red, new Bentley Coupé. From launch, 1991, the 6.75 L Garrett-turbocharged engine from the current Bentley Turbo R was chosen for use in the Continental R. In early, first generation, cars power output of 325 hp at 4000rpm and peak torque of 450 lb⋅ft at 2000rpm was available, although this was always estimated, as, at that time, Rolls-Royce still had a policy of not supplying official figures, preferring to describe as "sufficient"; the car used the new 4-speed GM 4L80-E automatic transmission, exhaustively tested by Rolls Royce, over 1 million miles, modified by them in order to deliver high levels of refinement.
The car featured self-levelling hydraulic suspension, ventilated disc brakes at the front, with twin calipers. Engine management via the MK-Motronic digital fuel injection with mapped ignition control system. At launch, top speed was 145 mph, a 0-60 mph time of 6.6 seconds. The Continental R was priced at US$271,780 in 1992. £178,000 in the UK at launch. All cars were equipped with a centre console mounted electronic gear selector, with a Sport button to adjust gearbox mapping and stiffen the suspension for more aggressive driving and handling. For such a large and heavy car, the Continental R was acknowledged by road testers and journalists as displaying superb handling characteristics at high speeds; the 1994 model year, priced in the UK at £180,120, saw a number of revisions to the engine, including revisions to the c