1984 Continental – a455 ygj
The name Continental first appeared on a Bentley in 1952 (the R Type Continental) and lives on in today’s Continental GT range. Between the two came a Bentley Continental of a different character, a coachbuilt two-door convertible. The model in the Heritage Collection retains all the glamour of the original design by Bill Allen, assistant to Chief Designer J.P. Blatchley.
Although launched in 1984 as the Bentley Continental, the design of this elegant four-seater convertible originated in 1971 as the Bentley Corniche, itself based on the 1966 Mulliner Park Ward 2-door T-series. As the Bentley Continental remained on sale until 1995, the same design lived on for almost 30 years - a remarkable achievement. The practicalities of creating an open 4-seater from a monocoque saloon body were formidable, and the convertible featured underfloor stiffening to make up for the absence of a roof. The powered hood was heavily lined to provide good sound insulation, as a result of which it sat proud on the rear deck. The Bentley’s 6.75-litre V8 provided effortless performance, though the Continental’s appeal was more as a boulevard cruiser than sports car.
Hand-Built by Mulliner Park Ward
Production was originally based at the Mulliner Park Ward factory on High Road Willesden, although some were finished at the service centre in Hythe Road until it closed in 1991. Continental assembly then moved to Crewe, ending the time consuming and inefficient shuttle journeys between plants.
Design details that distinguished Bentley Continental from its predecessor included seats with adjustable lumbar supports, body colour bumpers, mirrors and radiator slats and new driver instrumentation. In 1987 Bosch fuel injection replaced the original Solex carburettor.
The Bentley Continental in the Heritage Collection is finished in Tudor Red and is one of the first models produced in 1984. It was the then-chairman’s company car for two years, and joined the collection in 2021.
|Date Produced||1984 -1995|
|Body||Convertible; 2-doors, 4-seats; weight 2237kg|
|Engine||V8 6750cc. 2 pushrod overhead valves; hydraulic tappets; gear-driven central cast iron camshaft; aluminium cylinder head with steel valve seats, aluminium block, cast iron wet cylinder liners; Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection; 5-bearing chrome molybdenum crankshaft|
|Power||220bhp (164kW) @ 4000 rpm|
|Transmission||GM400 3-speed automatic; hypoid bevel final drive 3.08:1|
|Chassis||Steel monocoque with sub-frames; independent wishbone front suspension; coil springs, anti-roll bar; independent trailing arm rear suspension, coil springs; later anti-roll bar; independent front and rear automatic height control; telescopic dampers; hydraulic servo brakes|
|Dimensions||Wheelbase 306.1cm (120.5in); track 153.7cm (60.5in); length 519.4cm (204.5in); width 182.1cm (71.7in); height 151.8cm (56.75in)|
|Performance||Maximum speed 120mph (193km/h). 0-100 km/h (62mph) 9.6 seconds|