Bentley Mulsanne Turbo

This, for Triple P, is the most evocative motor car advertisement of recent times.  The brilliantly retro production for the Bentley Mulsanne Turbo; Bentley's successful attempt to redefine the marque as a sporting alternative to the rather staid Rolls-Royce.  It was named after the Mulsanne straight on the Circuit de la Sarthe at Le Mans where Bentleys won four consecutive victories from 1927-1930.  Bentley was bought by Rolls-Royce in 1931 and for many years Bentleys and Rolls-Royce cars had been identical except for different radiator grills.  The new car, whilst looking identical had an engine boosted by a Garrett AiResearch turbocharger which could power it along at a very un-Rolls-Royce-like 135mph.  Mainly aimed at the UK market as emissions regulations elsewhere would have made it illegal, Bentley underestimated the demand.  Aiming at producing 100 a year they eventually had to increase production to 200 a year and newly delivered cars were selling at £120,000, which was twice the list price.

Cover art for the German edition of Role of Honour.  The artist has struggled with rendering the Mulsanne's distinctive radiator

Its coolness was cemented when it appeared in two James Bond novels written by John Gardner: Role of Honour (1984) and Nobody Lives Forever (1986).  We always thought it made a better literary successor to the original  Bentley 4 1/2 litre from Fleming's books than any number of Aston Martins.

The styling of the advertisement harks back to the glory days of racing Bentleys in the twenties and thirties and the reference to the "silent sports car" is to the old advertisements for the car.  Around ten years after the Mulsanne Turbo was introduced we were driven down to the South of France in its successor, the Turbo R.  It made the twelve hour trip seem effortless but used up an enormous amount of fuel!

The Mulsanne Turbo re-established Bentley as a more sporting marque and paved the way for the current footballers' favourite the Bentley Continental.
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