Bentley builds 200,000th car…

… it's a Bentayga Hybrid. But 84 per cent of UK cars are still running – to the classifieds!

By Matt Bird / Friday, March 26, 2021 / Loading comments

The nature of its cars means that every Bentley news story comes with some fairly staggering statistics. Typically, it's torque, or top speed, or weight – but not this time. Instead it's about production, and while the 200,000 landmark is significant, perhaps the more noteworthy number is the time taken to reach that milestone. By Bentley's own measure, more than 75 per cent of that 200,000 – the landmark it has taken 101 years to reach – have been produced since 2003. In case anyone needed reminding just how important the Continental GT has been.

Consider this: from 1919 to 2002, Bentley built 44,418 cars – the Azures, Arnages, Mulsannes, Continentals and whatever else. Since 2003, Bentley has built 155,582 cars, which is incredible. There are now 85 cars a day made at Crewe, which was the monthly output just 20 years ago. It doesn't show any signs of letting up either; Bentley had a record year in 2020, selling more than 11,000 cars, and that was with everything that last year threw our way…

Furthermore, although a Bentayga Hybrid is not the most interesting car in the world, 200,000 is not the sort of number to leave unmarked, especially as Bentley recently finished the 80,000th Continental GT as well. And given Bentley believes that 84 per cent of cars made for the UK are still roadworthy, there seemed no better time to check the classifieds for the very best Crewesaders still available.

Right now, there are more than 700 Bentleys listed for sale on PH; 568 of those are post-2003. The very oldest is this 1924 3 Litre Freestone & Webb Tourer, and the most expensive (with a price, at least) is this 4 ½ Litre H.J. Mulliner Weymann Saloon from 1929, listed at £1.1m. But the bargain Bentleys are more interesting, aren't they? Just £10k buys a Big B in 2021, this 1995 Turbo R approaching 100,000 miles and looking just the part in green over tan.

Early Continental GTs have loitered temptingly between £15,000 and £20,000 for a while now, this one as cheap as they currently get on PH at £16,850. Once at £20k, however, many more possibilities are opened up: this low mileage Turbo R, this Arnage Red Label (the one with the 6.75) and this Flying Spur are all within £50 of each other.

It'll be no surprise that the vast majority of cars above that price point are derivatives of the Continental GT, with the odd classic curio for good measure – see this Continental R. The next most important price point is £50k (or £51,950, to be precise), as that's the money that buys a 21st century Mulsanne, arguably one of the greatest Crewe creations there has ever been. All of them are wonderful, though it's also worth noting that Mulsanne Speeds have already dropped to £80k from a new price of three times that, if not more. And four-door saloons arguably come no finer.

We could go on, of course, but you get the picture. Such is the affection put into creating and caring for Bentleys that anyone considering a used one in the UK is somewhat spoilt for choice. And although there'll never be such a thing as a cheap Bentley, it's nice to see that so many are alluringly affordable to buy. Because we've all thought about it once or twice, haven't we? With 2021 proving such a significant year for the marque, now seems as good a time as any…

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