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Storage Unit Find: 1997 Bentley Turbo RL

In the UK, Bentleys and Rolls-Royces litter alley ways and used car lots like we might see Lincolns and Hummers here. However, in the states, most Bentley and Rolls-Royce models are still generally sought after, especially if it’s a model made after 1985. This 1997 Bentley Turbo RL is a rare long wheelbase version that apparently fell into neglect when the older owner fell ill. The seller isn’t an expert in Bentleys and notes that while it doesn’t fire up, he has no expertise to determine why. It’s said to be one of 12 extended wheelbase cars made and it’s listed here on eBay for $8,500.

Wow – that interior is memorable, to say the least. My guess is this was a special order car, as it has full wood inserts on the door panels, and matching green inserts on the dash, steering wheel, center console, and more. When reviewing similar models for sale, the interior scheme is oftentimes more conservative, which is why it seems likely the first owner likely asked Bentley to pull this color-matched cockpit together. Thankfully, the interior has survived in better condition than the outside which has bore the brunt of years of outdoor storage.

The seller was wise to take pictures of the Bentley after it had just been washed; the “wet look” helps to mask just how badly the paint has perished. This is a full repaint for anyone looking to bring this Turbo RL back to top-flight condition. That’s on top of assessing the mechanical needs, which are likely to be significant. The seller notes that even with a fresh battery, the car is unresponsive. No dome lights turn on, no response from the gauge cluster – nada. Aside from the paint, the seller does note that the wood door inserts suffer from some peeling clearcoat, but the interior is in presentable condition overall.

The Turbo R was also the more sporting of the various luxury liners Bentley and Rolls-Royce sold here, with stiffer shocks and anti-roll bars. The turbocharged 6.8 liter V8 put out well over 300 horsepower and could sprint to 60 in the six second range despite having a significant curb weight. I suspect a seasoned Bentley mechanic could get this land yacht to fire back up with a few hours’ work, but that’s just speculation on my part. The asking price seems more than fair for a car with strong values when equipped this way, especially if that interior turns out to be a near one-off option.


  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Destined for an Air BNB listing near you.

    Like 2
  2. Mitch

    This is a parts car. Some parts can be refinished to factory
    standard. The peeling body paint to respray is 35’000.-

    Mechanical and suspension need regular treatment and
    very good trained staff – working on RR and Bentley is not
    everyone’s darling. Factory- rebuilt or -checked engines
    count from 20’000.-

    Like 6
    • Steve

      How could one spend 35K painting a car? Get real.

      Like 14
      • Mitch

        Required to strip the outside of the car. Anything has
        to be removed.
        The body paint uses 2 coats of paint and 2 coats of clear lacquer.
        Disassemble, pre-treat, prepare, cover, paint, ablate, wet
        sand, dry, paint, ablate, wet sand, dry. Same procedure for
        the clear coat.
        Each layer of paint and varnish must be sanded finer than
        the previous one to achieve the beautiful mirror finish. You
        can’t do that in two or three days with a spray can. When
        quality matters. Average processing time is 3-5 weeks.

        Mercedes used this procedure on the 600 limo (W 100),
        Saab and Toyota also but with a heat-up phase.

        Like 7
      • FireAxeGXP

        Anyone who has ever spent 35 grand to paint a car is the exemplar of the saying a FOOL and his money are soon parted. If some idiot wants to pay high end labour rates for taking off the windshield wipers some crook will take his money.

        Like 4
    • SubGothius

      Just get it the mechanicals and electrics sorted and drive it as-is with zero fox given, maybe even rat-rod out the exterior, take it to the country club or fine-dining establishments and watch the snobs blanche.

      Like 6
    • Bick Banter

      Why bother? This looks too cool as is. It’s the electrics, electronics and other stuff that I’d be worried about.

      Like 2
  3. PaulG

    Sorry but I’m still thinking the glove box would need to be stuffed w/ hundred dollar bills to make it worthwhile…
    BUT tow it to the Drive-in and it’d be a comfortable way to spend the evening with your date!

    Like 6
  4. Big C

    In the typical British luxury car way. These were incredibly overpriced, incredibly expensive to maintain, and most importantly, incredibly expensive to restore. This is an $8500 paperweight.

    Like 7
  5. SubGothius

    R-R/Bentley used to refuse to publish engine torque/HP figures, deeming that practice as gauche, instead understatedly reporting the output as simply “Adequate”. When the Bentley Turbo R was introduced, they published its output as “More than Adequate”.

    Like 4
  6. Hendo

    It would be kinda cool to do an LS or Gen VI BBC swap into it, maybe with boost, since it has a 4L80E transmission. I think alot could be done with some wet sanding, a buffer, clay and wax to bring the paint around enough that it could at least be a patina’d hot rod of a Bentley. Certainly zero reason to spend $35k like an above poster suggests. A nice detail, cleaning inside and you would really have a cool car for trips and cruising.

    Like 4
    • JAG

      The engine is the least of the worries here. It’s a pushrod v8. But that paint….yeah….done properly that is a $35k ordeal. And that’s if the back window doesn’t break on the way out.

  7. Stan

    Be really cool if it had a stick shift

    Like 1
  8. Charles

    You yanks are delightfully brutal with your elegant critiques of a most sensous carriage that has become less sensuous through no fault of its own. Blimey.

    Like 14
    • Rick in Oregon Rick in Oregon

      I couldn’t agree more! These cars are hand build by the finest craftsmen England has to offer. True, this poor car has seen better days but come on, put a small chevy block in it??? Might as well stuff one in a Charger or a Cuda!!! These cars have been, are and always will be the bench mark of automotive luxury and prestige…..

      From a Yank!!!

      Like 10
      • Bick Banter

        Hopefully no one sullies this proud British motor carriage in such a manner. How ghastly.

        Like 3
      • Solosolo Solosolo Member

        Nice to know that there is at least one American that can appreciate a great English motor car. If I were to buy it, and get it running for a modest fee, I would sand off the clear coat, fine sandpaper the base coat and then buff and polish it to the best possible shine and then drive the snot out of it! As a dealer I took one in on consignment and when I drove it the car went like a rocket in comparison to the RR Shadow that I also had on the floor. I advertised it and a gent flew down to check it out but didn’t buy it because he said that the turbo wasn’t working! He already owned one but wanted to buy mine for his wife because it had lower mileage. Well, if that’s how it performed without a turbo then I would really like to drive one that drives as it is supposed to do.

        Like 1
  9. Normsled

    The car is in Florida. Add water damage to the list of woes

    Like 5
  10. BimmerDude Member

    I wanted to look at some interior pic’s to enjoy the rear seat volume, but…Gone.

    • Howie

      It might be gone but you can still look at the photos.

      Like 1
  11. Robett Dudek

    Perfect candidate for a big LS swap :-)

    Like 1
  12. Clarke

    The Craigslist ad has been taken down.

    • Howie

      Clarke, Craigslist?? It was on Ebay and you can still view it.

      Like 1

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