Since the founding of Bentley by brothers Walter Owen and Horace Milner in 1919, these are cars known for the highest level of precision and perfectionism. However, contrary to the present-day ethos of exclusive vehicular pampering, the Bentleys and their buddies were wild men behind the wheel. From Brooklands and the Indy 500 to racing locomotives and winning Le Mans every year from 1927 to 1930, these fellows were hard charging enthusiasts.
Over the following decades, Bentley ended up being acquired by Rolls-Royce, then the Vickers engineering conglomerate and Volkswagen Group most recently. A common thread across this checkered ownership history has been big, high-powered sedans – “saloons” in the parlance of our British brethren – that ooze that luxury lifestyle. It was during the Vickers era, beginning in 1980, that Bentley’s SZ platform came to life and with it the original Mulsanne.
Named for the legendary Le Mans straight where racers once hit more than 250 mph, the four-door Mulsanne came packing a 6.75L V8 and all the Crewe craftsmanship the brand is known for. In 1987, a Mulsanne S joined the lineup sporting Turbo R components, sans the turbo. Owned, at the time, by Hollywood luminaries like Walter Matthau, these cars were intended for folks “interested in driving and going around corners seriously”, according to company spokesman Reg Abiss. Said to be one of 210 built for 1988, the lovely Balmoral Green example up for auction today is a time capsule of Bentley pedigree.