We all know that heritage will become even more important for legacy car manufacturers as the electric era edges towards fruition. Nothing demonstrates how progressive and modern a car company will be like showing off progressive and modern they've always been. Or the makers just want to snap up some classics before they all cost a million pounds.
This Bentley T-Series is significant for a number of reasons. Launched in 1965, it was the first monocoque Bentley, replacing the separate chassis architecture that had underpinned every Bentley before it. There were four disc brakes, self-levelling suspension and 115mph potential, too, thanks to the 225hp, 6.75-litre V8. And the car you see here is T-Series VIN 001, the very first one.
It was Bentley's car for the Paris show in 1965, finished in Shell Grey with blue leather. Apparently it was built for a life of trials work, and when the car was first repatriated to Crewe in 2016 it was in a fair old state. Work had begun on recommissioning the T-Series back then, but in Bentley own words "work was put on hold whilst the introduction of the current product range and future electrification activities became more of a priority" What with that and, y'know, other stuff going on the past couple of years, the restoration has understandably delayed.
But now it's all back on track, the big Bentley set to be completed next year, where it will take pride of place in the Heritage Collection, the Crewe crew "that together describes all 103 years of Bentley's history." There remains plenty to do, the car having been laid up in storage for decades prior to 2016, but the mighty V8 (apparently in quite good shape) has purred again for the first time in 15 years and the bare chassis has been driven. Next job is the John Blatchley-penned coachwork which, as can be seen, is going to take a while - Bentley says there's about 18 months of hard graft remaining.
Still, what a thing it stands to be come 2023. The T-Series was a significant car for Bentley, selling 1,868 cars over 15 years in production (a T2 ran from 1977-1980). And this is the very first example of the breed, to be brought back to its best by the people who know old Bentleys better than any other. Should be quite the car, then - count us in for a drive when the paint is dry!
1 / 10