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We Bet You've Never Heard of This Bentley

Auction / 9 Comments

Rare Turbo R-based coachbuild comes up for auction in Arizona.

If you want a Bentley but the current range of Continentals and Bentaygas is too mainstream for your taste, we may have just the car for you. Meet the 1991 Bentley Turbo RL Empress II Coupe, one of the rarest and strangest looking Bentleys of all time, and one that is guaranteed to set you apart from the crowd.

Based on the Bentley Turbo R, the Empress II was coach-built by a British firm called Hooper & Company, which had built transport for the royal family in the early 1900s before being revived in the 1980s after a 30-year hiatus. The new body was constructed from aluminum, and slashed two doors from the normal Turbo RL's body to create an elongated coupe. Only five Empress II's were built, and the red example you see here is the fourth out of the brief production run. It is also one of only two left-hand-drive versions.

Sitting on the bones of the Turbo R means it retains that Bentley's colossal 6.75-liter turbocharged V8, which pumped out approximately 400 horsepower. Despite the Bentley's heft, it could still reach 60 miles per hour in a solid six seconds. Along with the Turbo R's powertrain and the unique exterior styling, the Empress features a number of interior amenities. There are electric front and rear seats, a sports steering wheel, a sunroof, 12-speaker Alpine stereo and even a cocktail cabinet stuffed between the rear seats.

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This Empress originally was featured in Hooper's advertising before migrating to the Calumet Collection, which has a strong focus on old-school coach-built Bentleys and Rolls-Royces. However, it won't be there for much longer as this special Bentley is due to cross the auction block next January at RM Sotheby's Phoenix, Arizona event. Besides the chrome wheels, the Empress II is completely originally, and there's a scant 7,228 miles on the odometer. With a full history of documentation and no reserve, this rare Bentley could be a solid purchase for anyone looking to stray from the beaten path.