All the way back on September 28th of 1965, this Bentley T-Series rolled out of Crewe in a lovely Shell Grey shade with a complementary blue leather interior, with the big 6¼-litre pushrod V8 up front under the long bonnet pumping away in silky quiet luxury. This particular car, the first T-Series ever built, was destined for a life of labor, pushed into service as the test car for Bentley to prove the T was production-ready. Once its job was done, the car was pushed into a storage warehouse and forgotten about for decades.
Every single Bentley model produced before this car was built like a truck, with a separate chassis and body. The first T completely changed the company for the better by guiding the luxury automobile toward a stiffer and quieter unibody construction.
This car sat in the dark for years waiting for its time in the sun once more, and that time is coming soon. Despite the lack of use, the car is a bit worse for wear, and it will be treated to a full restoration before entering the Bentley Heritage Collection. The project is scheduled to take at least 18 months to get the car back up to snuff, so clearly the Bentley folks are leaving no piece of the car untouched.
The Bentley T was a revolutionary machine for its time, not just by dint of its monocoque construction. The engine and transmission were given separate subframes to mount to, and those were isolated from the body with rubber, which is standard practice today. Even more rare, the car had advanced independent suspension at each of its four corners, and automatic height control according to how the car was loaded. It also featured four-wheel disc brakes, which weren’t exactly new, but were still fairly rare in the day.
With this example being the first of 1,868 total built, it was an important car for Bentley, and that’s why the company is so eager to treat this one with such care. It’s nice that they found this car in storage and brought it out for a full restoration. More manufacturers should check the couch cushions for 57-year-old cars to restore. I want to see a lot more of this.