The remarkable growth of the Philippines economy is evident by the large number of luxury cars one sees on the roads here. And that’s not just in Manila.
And when I say luxury, I mean real luxury. Thanks to the foresight of a number of astute businessmen, who could see the good times ahead, the luxury car market is booming.
One such successful businessmen is Robert Coyiuto Jr, chairman of Bentley Manila and PGA cars. He’s built his luxury car business into the biggest of its kind in the country.
A visit to the posh PGA showrooms in Mandaluyong is like stepping into an Aladdin’s cave of the world’s finest automobiles – Bentley, Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini.
Among the many outstanding cars on offer at PGA is the racy and outlandish Bentley Continental GT Speed. Already one of these beauties has been snapped up.
Alas, I’ll never be wealthy enough to own a Bentley Continental, but I’ve always admired the designs Bentley and independent coach builders have come up with over the years for this particular model.
As a child in the 1950s I was really taken with the Bentley Continental fastback coupé body by H J Mulliner. To me, one of the truly classic car designs of all time.
In 1968 I worked as executive assistant to impresario Robert Stigwood, manager of Eric Clapton and the Bee Gees. His pride and joy was a white 1958 Bentley S1 Continental Park Ward Drophead Coupe, once owned by the fabulously wealthy Aga Khan. It was a beautiful car and he would sometimes let me drive it.
So I’ve always had a soft spot for the Continental and was therefore intrigued to hear that this week at the Geneva Motor Show (March 6-16), Bentley will unveil it’s latest Continental GT Speed. The company has added a bit more muscle to the car which it describes as the ‘fastest ever production Bentley’.
Bentley has increased the two-door’s 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine just a bit. It now packs ten extra horses, up to 626 bhp, along with 605 lb-ft (820 Nm) of torque.
That upgrade gives the car’ a top speed of 331 kph. Zero to 60 mph takes just 4 seconds.
Bentley has also made some minor styling revisions. The front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser are painted to match the body color for the first time. Red brake calipers peek through the 21-in Speed wheels, which get a dark tint finish, as do the head lamps and tail lamps.
Chrome “Speed” badges on the front fenders and a new Candy Red color option round out the short list of exterior revisions.
Inside, the hand-finished cabin includes diamond-stitched leather upholstery, drilled pedals and a unique shift knob. Owners can also have the ‘engine spin’ metal dashboard trim in a dark grey tint to match the grille insert.
Bentley has used the moniker ‘Speed’ since the 1920s. The high-performance Bentley Speed Six were sports and luxury cars in production from 1926 to 1930. The Speed Six, introduced in 1928, would become the most successful racing Bentley.
Many of these beautiful cars are in private collections around the world. Hong Kong billionaire, Sir Michael Kadoorie, has an exquisite 1930 Bentley Speed Six Mulliner Drop Head Coupe in his extensive car collection.