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Bentley Restarts Restoration Work On The First-Ever 1965 T-Series For Its Heritage Collection

Bentley has begun an 18-month-long restoration process that will end with the oldest T-Series in existence earning its rightful place in Bentley’s expanding Heritage Collection.

VIN001, the car is powered by a 6.25-liter pushrod V8 that made 225 hp (168 kW/228 PS) when new. Despite not making what would today be considered a remarkable amount of horsepower, when it was introduced in 1959, it was considered a marvel of engineering.

The engine had the highest specific output by weight of any production vehicle on earth when it was introduced (2.7 lb/hp or 1.2 kg/hp) and its inherent overengineering meant that it formed the basis of V8s in Bentleys for another 50 years. Through development, Bentley engineers were able to get the engine formula to make more than twice as much power and emit 99 percent less by the time it was finally retired in 2019.

That wasn’t the T-Series‘ only claim to fame, though. Displayed for the first time at the Paris Motor Show on October 5, 1965, it was the first Bentley to use unitary construction with a monocoque chassis instead of the body-on-frame construction that the company had employed previously.

Other design innovations included the separate subframes to carry the engine and transmission, suspension, steering, and rear axle assemblies, with “Vibrashock” rubber mounts developed to keep NVH down. It also had independent suspension on all four wheels with automatic height control, and hydraulic disc brakes at all four corners, which was pretty modern stuff for the ’60s.

The modern design was used to serve the growing desire of clients to own vehicles that were smaller outside and bigger inside. When it left the factory, the T-Series was seven inches shorter, five inches lower, and 3.5-inches narrower than the model that preceded it, the S3. Despite that, overall cabin space increased as did trunk space.

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This particular example was made on September 28, 1965, and was destined to serve the automaker for trials work around the world. It was finished in Shell Grey paint with a blue leather interior. Although it has been sitting idle for the better part of 15 years, the engine and transmission, Bentley was delighted to learn upon starting it up, are still in good condition.

Restoration work actually started in 2016, when a group of apprentices started removing trim and reconditioning the body. After initial prep, though, the restoration was put on hold to allow Bentley to focus on making new vehicles. Now it’s ready to start the restoration process in earnest, a job it expects to take 18 months.

The first of just 1,868 first-generation T-Series ever produced, it sold for £5,425 in 1965, the equivalent of £111,769.86 in 2021, the latest year the Bank of England offers inflation calculation for and which amounts to $145,837.31 at current exchange rates. When its restoration is finished, the car will take on the invaluable role of representing an important part of Bentley’s 103 years of existence, which its Heritage Collection will attempt to represent in its entirety.

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