Project 116 (P116) was a Continental R commissioned by a well-heeled and charismatic Italian, Carlo Talamo, in the late 1990s.
The car was overhauled by Mulliner Park Ward (MPW), Bentley’s personal commissioning department. Autocar’s Steve Cropley flew to Milan to see the car and meet its owner, a Bentley and Rolls-Royce distributor who “spent the £250,000 it costs to put a Continental R on the road in Italy, then as much again having the car modified by MPW”.
Asked why he’d spent so much money, Talamo told Cropley that he was “a lifelong admirer of the most remarkable Bentley of them all, the 4.5-litre ‘Blower’, which created so much of the Le Mans legend. Though successful in business, Talamo believed he had little hope of ever owning a Blower, so he tried to create a modern Bentley with the spirit of the great cars of the 1920s”.
The P116 started out as a standard wheelbase Continental R coupé, but MPW gave it more power and stripped out 200kg of weight. Setting it apart was a polished aluminium bonnet, radiator shell and headlight surrounds.
“The radiator grille mesh is no-nonsense material from the Bentley Eight, and the inner headlight on each side has been deleted and its aperture covered with the same mesh,” reported Cropley. “The front bumper is simplified in design and body-coloured, and the scoops and apertures under it are also meshed over.”