There have been some great limited editions dedicated to racetracks over the years. Think Vauxhall VXR8 Bathurst, the Boss Laguna Seca Mustang and Honda Prelude Motegi, to name but three. There have been plenty less iconic for one reason or another, too; the Renaultsport Clio Silverstone GP Edition, although a great car, was blessed with a clumsy name. The Jaguar XE Reims Edition looked a little cynical, too. And let's not get started on colour names - do you really want a BMW in Brands Hatch Grey?
With that in mind, it takes a very special place and car to execute the plan convincingly. Even more so, in fact, when it's a whole model line being dedicated to a circuit, and not just a special edition. Fortunately, both Brooklands - the place and the Bentley - were a match made in heaven.
The track had played host to all manner of pre-war Bentley victories, the name evoking great men with great moustaches achieving great things behind the wheel. And the car was a more than fitting tribute. At launch 15 years ago, the Brooklands was the most powerful V8 car Bentley had ever made, producing 537hp and a seismic 774lb ft from the 6.75-litre, twin-turbo warhorse. A new six-speed auto meant 60mph could be reached in just five seconds, and the Brooklands was capable of more than 180mph.
But the Brooklands was about far more than just the speed. As the VW-developed Continental GT was really hitting its popularity stride, the huge two-door, four-seat V8 was a taste of the old school. Lovingly hand assembled in Crewe, each Brooklands - despite sharing some parts with the Azure and Arnage - took 650 dedicated hours to build. Even with a planned production run of just 550 cars, that's almost 360,000 hours to assemble all the Brooklands.
However, Bentley didn't build 550 cars - not according to the advert for this one, at least. It suggests that only 430 Brooklands were sold, most likely as 2008 probably wasn't the best time to be flogging a new Bentley flagship. It's hard to think of a worse time, in fact. But it makes a rare Bentley even scarcer, and there really won't be many like this: not only is it right-hand drive (said to account for just a quarter of the production run), but it also has the optional carbon-silicon carbide brakes fitted.
When new for the Brooklands, they were the largest brake discs (420mm) on any passenger car in the world; the rotors would last the lifetime of the car, and pad life was doubled. There were probably some benefits in unsprung mass, too - certainly a nice option to have.
Elsewhere, it's as expected for a limited-run Bentley that was built, in the grand scheme of things, not that long ago. Having covered just 16,000 miles with one owner since 2008, the Brooklands is flawless inside and out, even down to an unwrapped brolly in the boot. Now as then, it looks a sublime way for four people to travel.
This Brooklands is for sale at £140k, which compares well enough with the others available; you'll not pay more than that, but then neither will a Brooklands be bought for much less than £115,000. Some Bentleys depreciate with almost unbelievable haste; the Brooklands not so much, even if this one will have been approaching a quarter of a million pounds when new. However, with the 6.75-litre engine now out of production and nothing quite like the Brooklands currently offered by Bentley, the status of this one as a collector's item looks assured. Just a shame fuel doesn't cost what it did in 2008, really.
SPECIFICATION | BENTLEY BROOKLANDS
Engine: 6,761cc, twin-turbo V8
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 537@4,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 774@3,250rpm
MPG: 14.5 (!)
Recorded mileage: 16,072
Year registered: 2008
Price new: c. £230,000
Yours for: £139,995
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