2010 Bentley Continental GT Series 51

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1 Comments 14 Bids
7:30 PM, 30 Nov 2023Vehicle not sold
Highest bid

£24,750

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c006a41c-ffb8-4dad-8c81-6999d1861e62

John's review

John Hunt - Consignment Specialist Message John

“ This is one of just 64 Series 51s built, and it has a full Bentley Service History ”

The chance to own a Series 51 doesn't come up very often, and this example has not only been well cared-for across its entire life with no scrimping on maintenance or servicing but is currently owned by an expert in the marque!

Vehicle Story

As long as Bentley has operated out of its current home in Crewe, there's been a Bentley Continental.

It's arguably the best-known name in the brand's line-up, and actually takes inspiration from a specification of its then-owner Rolls-Royce's vehicles – as a more sporting option intended to cross the continent apace as a grand tourer.

The first Bentley Continental was conceived of in a similar way, comprising a performance package for the swish R-Type – a sibling of the Silver Dawn – and the ethos carried through its successor S series vehicles based on the Silver Shadow.

After a hiatus brought about by the new unibody T Series, the Continental name returned in a similar fashion with a car based on the Rolls-Royce Corniche before budding off into its own model line in the mid 1990s – just before a highly complex ownership situation of the two brands and two prospective new owners got into full swing.

Bentley's eventual new owner, Volkswagen, released the new Continental GT as its first entirely new product in 2003, realising a vision that Rolls-Royce itself had a decade earlier of a more “affordable” Bentley which it had previewed at the Geneva Motor Show as Concept Java.

While that meant a move away from purely hand-built cars and towards a more mass-production style, the Conti was still assembled by the team at Crewe and still to Bentley's high standards of luxury and exclusivity – taking 110 hours to build each car. There's no mistaking it for a Passat!

The result has been Bentley's most successful vehicle in its history, with around 100,000 models built over the past two decades – and even despite the introduction of the inevitable SUV in 2015, Bentley still makes just as many Continentals as Bentaygas each day, at an average of 33.

Key Facts

  • Ceramic Coated
  • Private Plate Not Included
  • Rare Car
  • Full Main Dealer History
  • Low Miles
  • SCBCE63W8AC065215
  • 49600 miles
  • 5998cc
  • auto
  • Black
  • Black Leather
  • Right-hand drive
  • Petrol
Vehicle location
Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Vehicle Story

As long as Bentley has operated out of its current home in Crewe, there's been a Bentley Continental.

It's arguably the best-known name in the brand's line-up, and actually takes inspiration from a specification of its then-owner Rolls-Royce's vehicles – as a more sporting option intended to cross the continent apace as a grand tourer.

The first Bentley Continental was conceived of in a similar way, comprising a performance package for the swish R-Type – a sibling of the Silver Dawn – and the ethos carried through its successor S series vehicles based on the Silver Shadow.

After a hiatus brought about by the new unibody T Series, the Continental name returned in a similar fashion with a car based on the Rolls-Royce Corniche before budding off into its own model line in the mid 1990s – just before a highly complex ownership situation of the two brands and two prospective new owners got into full swing.

Bentley's eventual new owner, Volkswagen, released the new Continental GT as its first entirely new product in 2003, realising a vision that Rolls-Royce itself had a decade earlier of a more “affordable” Bentley which it had previewed at the Geneva Motor Show as Concept Java.

While that meant a move away from purely hand-built cars and towards a more mass-production style, the Conti was still assembled by the team at Crewe and still to Bentley's high standards of luxury and exclusivity – taking 110 hours to build each car. There's no mistaking it for a Passat!

The result has been Bentley's most successful vehicle in its history, with around 100,000 models built over the past two decades – and even despite the introduction of the inevitable SUV in 2015, Bentley still makes just as many Continentals as Bentaygas each day, at an average of 33.

Gallery

Vehicle Overview

The car presented here is from the first generation of the Continental GT, and comes from a particularly special line known as “Series 51”.

It's so named for the year in which Bentley's “Styling Office” was launched in its new Crewe HQ, overseen by John Polwhele Blatchley who was responsible for so many post-war Bentley and Rolls-Royce designs – including the R-Type and S series Continentals.

The Series 51, revealed in 2009, was in essence a “greatest hits”: a Continental GT specified the way that Bentley would do it rather than some of the more eclectic customer options. Accordingly all of the cars came with a special three-tone interior, unique wheels and options, and Series 51 badging. All, in common with all first-gen cars, used the mellifluous six-litre W12 engine.

First registered in June 2010, the car is on its fourth owner, who is himself a former Rolls-Royce technician and is sufficiently enamoured of the brand that his fleet has swollen to almost two dozen cars. Indeed this is why the opportunity to own the car has come up, with storage space at a premium and the car ultimately not being driven enough.

That's reflected in the low mileage, with just over 49,000 miles on the dials and not even a thousand of that coming in over the last couple of years.

Please note that the private plate in the photos is being retained by the vendor, and the Bentley will revert to its original registration, 'YJ10 FDN'.

Exterior

There is a lot of ground to cover on the 4.8m-long Continental GT, here finished in effortlessly chic Onyx Black, and despite there being a lot of potential here to catch some stray objects the car isn't far off pristine.

Examining the paintwork up close doesn't reveal anything obviously amiss, even on the usual trouble spots around the front, the wing mirrors and the roof's leading edge. That long bonnet and sweeping flanks are, as far as we can make out, just the way they were when the car left Crewe 13 years ago.

The same goes for all the chrome brightwork too, with the silver line down the sills and around the side glass unmarked, and the grilles unblemished and undamaged.

This is also the case with the glass itself – which is double-thickness acoustic glass in the doors, just to keep the outside a little bit more out. All of the lighting clusters and lenses are free from damage or fogging, and operate as they should – including the full-width high level brake light which has been recently replaced.

Importantly those model-specific, 20-inch wheels are showing no signs of age, wear, or damage at all, retaining their chromed lustre and with all four centre-caps present and correct. There's Pirelli P Zero Rosso tyres on each too, all with decent tread left.

The Continental GT also has a small active spoiler which pops out between the boot opening and rear screen at higher speeds but which can be deployed manually and works as it ought.

Interior

Really it's the interior that's the Bentley's party piece – as anyone who's visited Crewe will know from the vast area dedicated just to interior trim options. On the Series 51 there's a unique three-colour scheme selected by Bentley itself and on this car that's dominated by the dark Beluga hide with light Linen inserts, and light grey piping/stitching. The Series 51 interior features leather and wood of an even higher quality than a standard GT, with the non-perforated diamond stiched finish only used on these models.

It is exceptionally well-kept too, with no signs of wear whatsoever even on the highest-traffic driver's seat, with the diamond-stitched upholstery just about immaculate. Unlike many four-seat coupes, the Bentley's rear seats can be used – so long as the front-seat occupants aren't overly leggy – but if they have been there's no evidence of it.

The theme continues up onto the two enormous doors, and it's a similar story with no marks on the leather and no kicks, scuffs, or scrapes down on the lower portion. 

You'll find piano black inlays in the dashboard, centre stack and passenger gallery, and this is all in immaculate condition. They house the chrome instrument dials and HVAC vents with the classic organ-stop levers, all in the same great condition.

The glovebox houses the navigation system's CD drive, a 6-CD changer, and an iPod connector, all of which displays on the 6.8-inch LCD touchscreen in the centre console.

There's chunky carpeting throughout which all looks unblemished around all four seats, with protective over-mats certainly doing their jobs over the years!

You'll find an extremely spacious and very clean boot and although the rear seats are fixed there is a ski-hatch between them should you feel the need to carry longer items – as well as loops for tying items down.

Mechanical

All first-generation Continental GT models use the six-litre W12 engine – in effect two V6 engines joined together to create four rows of three cylinders each. It's a pretty uncommon engine, and the Bentley version of the unit also sports two turbochargers to produce just over 550hp and 479lbft.

Ordinarily you'd be pretty hard-pressed to tell its even running most of the time, at least after the little flurry of activity in starting it up, and that's very much the case here. There's a good chance you could put a glass of water on the engine cover and not see any ripples.

It does bellow into life with a soundtrack all of its own when prodded, but in general driving it's pretty smooth and quiet, and we didn't hear any complaints from engine or the six-speed auto ZF gearbox.

The rather complicated engine also powers an equally complex all-wheel drive system. Don't expect to head too far off-road, but it's useful for inclement weather and slightly boggy ground and again operates without issue.

That does add up to some impressive performance – just over four seconds to 60mph and nudging near 200mph – and an appetite for fuel!

Poking around the underside of the Conti shows that as much care has been taken down here as everywhere else. There's no evidence of damage or leaks and you'd be hard-pressed to tell its age or mileage from beneath.

The on-road manners appear to be exactly as they should, with no gripes from the suspension (even on a muddy path) or brakes which still seem to be entirely up to the task of carrying the 2.3-tonne Bentley around.

History Highlights

There's a significant folder with the vehicle, containing pretty much every receipt as far as we can tell from a rather diligent second owner – running from his purchase of the car (and the fact he part-exchanged another Continental!) right up until they parted company in 2020.

This includes both the important stuff and some more minor work, all carried out at a Bentley main dealer.

Backing that up is a full book of service stamps, right up to its tenth and final page just over a thousand miles back, again all from Bentley dealers in both its original home in Leeds (where it finds itself once again) and in Reading where it's spent much of its life.

Also in the folder are MOT certificates, and the digital record shows a clean bill of health all the way from 2013 to 2023 – with the current MOT running through to April 2024. In fact there's only a single advisory in that entire time, for tyre wear close to the legal limit.

Otherwise it's a history that speaks for a car that has been well looked after without letting even minor niggles go unattended. An average of less than 4,000 miles a year across its life indicates a vehicle that has been enjoyed but not to excess.

What We Think

In general, the Bentley Continental GT is a fine car, and the best example of Bentley's approach of matching luxury with performance. There's a reason it's the brand's best-selling model, even going toe-to-toe with the marque's SUV.

The chance to own a Series 51 doesn't come up very often, and this example has not only been well cared-for across its entire life with no scrimping on maintenance or servicing but is currently owned by an expert in the marque!

Remaining in an almost showroom condition throughout, and with that remarkable W12 engine and understated looks – hand-picked by Bentley itself – it should be an excellent cruising companion for years to come. We estimate that it will sell for £35,000-£40,000.

Viewing is strongly encouraged, and this lot is located with the vendor in Leeds, Yorkshire. Viewings are strictly by appointment. To make a booking, please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, and read our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

About this auction

Estimated value

£35,000 - £40,000

Seller

Private: dan12l
Buyer’s premium
7% of the winning bid (minimum £700), plus 20% VAT on the Premium only.