Spitfire-engined Bentley - R7m

2012-11-06 08:20

A classic Bentley fitted with a 27-litre engine from a Second World War Spitfire fighter plane has gone on sale for a cool price equivalent to R7-million with a 400-litre fuel tank and ready for take-off.

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According to the london Daily Mail, engineer Bob Petersen spent three years creating the Bentley Meteor which, he said, will give its buyer “once-in-a-lifetime car that's a spectacular example of British engineering".

The Bentley Meteor is on show at London classic cars dealer Coys.


The unusual set of wheels was featured by Top Gear earlier in 2012 with Jeremy Clarkson's sidekicks driving it.

Petersen used a chassis from a 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II and then designed and built the coachwork to give it the look and feel of a vintage Bentley. It's finished in classic olive green with a matching leather interior.

The piece de resistance, however, is the 27-litre V12 Rolls-Royce Meteor engine derived from a Merlin engine used in the Spitfire fighter and the Lancaster bomber. It generates in excess of 634kW – a figure claimed to be more than any Bentley built by the marque’s Crewe facility.

To fire it up, according to information from the seller, the driver flicks two magneto switches then pushes the Spitfire starter button to allow the V12 to burst to life. The Bentley Meteor is said to have a top speed of 260km/h but also apparently slurps fuel at a rate of between 94 and 140 litres/100km; an inconvenience possibly circumvented by the 400-litre fuel tank.

We’re not too sure who will foot those fuel bills.

The car does have a number of modern features, though. The has petrol injection and electronic ignition technology, there’s a four-speed automatic transmission that can also be operated manually, power-assisted steering and disc brakes.

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-11-06 09:00

    Can you imagine how awesome this thing sounds?!!

  • kenpeg.dawson - 2012-11-06 09:11

    Joburg to Durbs in 2 hours.

      riotousr - 2012-11-06 10:37

      With the number of pit stops you will make along the 650km trip your travel time will be a cool five hours. And we have traffic extortionists masquerading as traffic warden on our road net work which might just add another 4 hours to your trip. It will be a whooping 10 hours trip accompanied, however, by the mostest awsomest sound to come from a terrestrial based engine.

  • blignault.michaele - 2012-11-06 09:17

    Wish I could afford this one!!

  • StreetRacer911 - 2012-11-06 09:18

    It should have gotten a 6 speed 'box. Might even help curb the fuel bill a bit

  • kevin.vanblerk - 2012-11-06 09:19

    An awesome piece of engineering, I love it. I can see Jay Leno come knocking at their door :-)

  • Jeremy - 2012-11-06 09:20

    I saw this car on Top Gear - just for the record News24, it was driven by Jeremy Clarkson, not "one of his sidekicks." It's absolutely fantastic. A "normal" vintage Bentley is huge, but this thing is simply immense! It's the ultimate Sunday drive vehicle! And that engine!

  • gary.bloom.967 - 2012-11-06 09:24

    do yourself a favour and go watch the youtube video. It sounds awesome when starting up.

  • nthato.thema1 - 2012-11-06 09:33


      mogo.naut - 2012-11-06 15:18

      Just imagine the guys at Underground Racing could get hold of this?

  • brak.jan - 2012-11-06 10:07

    These cars are wild. Saw a piece on a Napier-Railton a while back. It had ‘only’ 370kw from its W12 engine, and was a beast. It could do 230km/h in 1935, on ‘Marie Biscuit’ tires and with only rear brakes! Those aircraft engines were designed to run at constant rpm, so the power delivery is not very smooth. Combine this with a very insensitive throttle, very little grip and a leather cap as the only safety feature, and that thing will kill you in the blink of an eye!

  • de.stig.9 - 2012-11-06 13:05

    No airbag,no thanks

      brak.jan - 2012-11-06 14:00

      Haha! Yip, nothing between you and a big exposed nut in the center of a tractor size steering wheel....

      acer.khan.94 - 2012-11-06 23:17

      you don't need airbags. nothing is gna stop this thing.!!

  • verysourboy - 2012-11-06 14:25

    You have to love it... BUT first thing i would do is rip out the Meteor engine and replace it with a proper Merlin! The Merlin sounds much nicer and can actually claim to be an Aero-engine. The Meteor was a non-supercharged version of the famed-spitfire engine and was not used in aircraft at all... it was designed and used as an engine to power Tanks. It was developed from the Mk III Rolls-Royce Merlin engine and is more commonly known as the Rover Meteor engine. In standard form it developed 447kW. Build quality on the Meteor was also not great because they were mostly built out out of parts that were rejected from the Merlin production lines... some of the RAF old boys used to call the Meteor engine Merlin-scraps...

  • mogo.naut - 2012-11-06 15:16

    WOW --> slurps fuel at a rate of between 94 and 140 litres/100km.. Honey I'm just quickly going get some bread and milk at the garage... and to fill up while I'm at it hahahaha. That Bentley sure is awesome though!

  • Ulrich Gericke - 2012-11-06 17:23

    Would love to own this piece of history...

  • acer.khan.94 - 2012-11-06 23:15

    is it a Bentley or a RR?

      lionel.mitchell1 - 2012-11-08 10:01

      Bentley was owned by Rolls-Royce. This car is a Bentley built on a RR chassis.

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