When we loaded very last week’s Austin Ambassador Brave Capsule into the website’s back conclude, a process as sleek and seamless as stoking a spinning gearbox with washers, we weren’t expecting the reaction it obtained. Nonetheless, with 236 feedback (and counting), this wonderful case in point of British Leyland’s worst period seems to have triggered far more nostalgia than a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight exhibit over a Rolling Stones Concert.
Much of this was, to no wonderful surprise, questioning the £5,995 remaining requested for this slice of early eighties kitsch, that figure staying close to its first RRP. But a substantial amount was singing its praises, various PHers going so considerably as to reckon it looked properly priced presented the soaring fascination in extra obscure new-age classics.
With that in mind, here’s a little something not totally diverse. It’s a different British-built vehicle from the exact same era which would have cost nearly eight moments as considerably when it was new, but which is now remaining offered for a modest £2,500 nutritional supplement in excess of the Austin. Getting a Bentley Turbo R it also has twice the cylinders, extra than double the power, and will travel less than half as significantly on a gallon of petrol.
Outside of jogging fees that would put several helicopters to disgrace, the R’s somewhat captivating price tag is due in big element to the all-impressive forces of offer and desire. While a lot of extra Ambassadors had been developed than Turbo Rs, survival prices have been radically distinct. So whilst there seem to be to be only 16 of the small-loved Austin still on the highway, the Bentley has fared significantly far better: How Several Left reckons there are just above 900 extant, split almost evenly in between taxed and SORN’d.
This is not the first Turbo R to attribute in Brave Pill, although the former case in point was back in the pre-Covid days of May well 2019, when Boris Johnson was a Future England Captain fairly than a former one particular. That 1 was a facelifted case in point painted in a reasonable shade of blue, and late sufficient to have the Arnage-esque interior fitted to later vehicles. This week’s providing is a much previously example concluded in a far jazzier hue – “virtually blemish absolutely free Claret” in accordance to the description – and with the first cabin.
Even though replete with walnut, leather and carpets deep more than enough to drop a ferret in, our Pill unquestionably dates from the time in advance of Crewe discovered the new-fangled artwork of ergonomics, the R’s dashboard seemingly prolonged into the centre console by means of a collection of tiered racks to accommodate the different controls and instruments that could not be equipped larger up. While the advert’s claims that the switches and chrome plating are “reminiscent of a 5 star ocean liner” would seem as purple as the upholstery, the car obviously missing an Engine Buy Telegraph, it truly does seem a splendid put to commit time.
Prior to the arrival of its W12-powered products, the Turbo R arrived shut to the best of the record of the brand’s best hits. Its arrival adopted the epiphany in the early ‘eighties that Bentleys could provide greater if they have been distinguished from their Rolls-Royce sisters by extra than just badging, but also with extra effectiveness. The initially of this new way of thinking was the Mulsanne Turbo, introduced in 1982, which utilized a boosted edition of the 6.75-litre pushrod L-Sequence V8 to make about 300hp. This was a reasonable outdated whack by the criteria of the era, and more than more than enough to demonstrate that the Mulsanne’s chassis would will need some even bigger revisions to cope with it.
Which is, in essence, what the Turbo R was. At the rear of the new identify the powerplant remained the similar, but with major underbody modifications together with the arrival of a Panhard rod to greater track down the rear axle, stiffened springs and dampers and a new anti-roll bar at the entrance. It was an quick hit by the specifications of the modest volumes the company managed in that period, much more than 7,200 currently being developed amongst 1985 and 1997.
Our Pill dates from 1986, which means it must continue to use a carburetted motor in position of the gas injection that arrived only a little bit afterwards. The solitary underbonnet shot doesn’t give the non-skilled a sufficient point of view to make a simply call on which gasoline process is equipped, but it’s probable some proficient PHer will be equipped to convey to at a glance.
Over and above the slight variance in plumbing there doesn’t look to be a lot influence on either performance or gas overall economy. These getting, respectively, ‘plenty’ and ‘ouch.’ While Bentley did not imagine in quoting effectiveness quantities at the time, at least one particular U.S. magazine ran the Turbo R from -60mph in just 6.4 seconds – impressively brisk given a 3-pace autobox and the car’s porky 2450kg kerbweight. Gasoline is consumed at a charge a lot of speedboats would be proud of. Averaging 15mpg from a tank would have to have a mild suitable foot, whilst enthusiastic development in this era of £2/ litre unleaded will swiftly shift the Turbo R towards the pound-per-mile barrier. Which will at the very least make calculating the price tag less difficult.
On the in addition facet, the need to continue to keep the wide 108 litre tank from working dry is only at any time just one of the substantial charges of managing a Turbo R, with the have to have for significant amounts of routine and (pretty much definitely) non-regimen upkeep. Our final Turbo R Brave Capsule received some shell-stunned entrepreneurs contributing in the comments, with PHer Balmoral admitting to having rid of one particular following it value additional than £9000 in upkeep in just one 12 months: “I did not brain £3k here and £4k there, 12 months in yr out, but that was the ‘it’s acquired to go’ second.”
Our Pill’s online MOT history provides a fascinating perception into the give and acquire of maintaining a vehicle like this on the highway, with irregular gaps between checks and periodic virulent outbreaks of purple between thoroughly clean passes. Digging down proves that handful of of the fails and advisories have been way too frightening: non-operating lights, far too considerably carbon monoxide, ineffective brakes and our aged pal “oil leak, but not extreme.” There have been a pair of mentions of rust, but none for a lot more than 5 decades, and the mileage has been creeping up as slowly and gradually as a sloth on Mogadon, obtaining covered just around 10,000 among November 2007’s examination and the most modern in January. Nevertheless, it’s challenging to get much too picky presented the Turbo R’s £8,495 inquiring price. That is barely more than 50 percent of the upcoming-least expensive instance currently in the classifieds, and in fact makes it cheaper than the R we ran a few many years back. In conditions of mechanical peril an aged Bentley is certainly braver than an Austin Ambassador, but will it come across as substantially really like?