This odd-looking Bentley 'Empress' has lived a pampered life
One of only five Bentley Turbo RL Empress II Coupes by Hooper is heading to auction with RM Sotheby's early next year without reserve.
The 1970s resonates as a travesty to fashion – a time where people wore wide-collared shirts, showcased ill-advised piercings and paraded around in double denim. Car styling also took bold – if somewhat misguided – steps towards the realms of a Jetsons-inspired deluge of radical futurism.
The end result lingered well into the 1990s, cars from the next two decades splitting opinion on the contemporary classic car market – none more so than the 1991 Bentley Turbo RL Empress II Coupe by Hooper. Perhaps the automotive equivalent to Marmite, it’s impossible to remain on the fence when discussing the rare coupe’s aesthetics. So we’ll go right ahead and break the ice – we love it! Best of all, the finest remaining example is up for grabs with RM Sotheby's during their Arizona sale next year, at no reserve.
More great Bentleys
- This is the real James Bond Bentley
- How to buy a standard Bentley Turbo R
- More great classic Bentleys for sale with AutoClassics!
To understand the Empress II’s conception, we need to wind back to the late 1970s, where Hooper & Company found second wind with new management and ownership. Once the revered British coachbuilders favoured by various Royal establishments, the revived firm produced highly unique creations in limited numbers, based purely upon modern Rolls-Royce and Bentley models. This included coupes and limousines, sold to the wealthiest global clientele imaginable.
Among Hooper’s commissioned offering was the Empress II; a two-door coupé based upon the architecture of Bentley’s long-wheelbase Turbo RL already featuring a fully unique, streamlined aluminium shell that borrowed virtually none of its features from the stock sedan.
A sumptuous interior featured power-adjustable front and rear seats, a unique sports steering wheel, a glass ‘sunshine roof,’ an Alpine 12-speaker stereo system, and a rear seat whose passengers could enjoy a cocktail cabinet and accompanying Asprey silver vanity set.
Retailing for an amount of money more commonly transferred when buying a football team, only five examples saw the light of day, with only two bearing left-hand drive. And that’s exactly what we have here. Offered with RM Sotheby’s is the fourth Empress II made, and one of two left-hand-drive models.
Finished in a highly-decadent Tudor Red over Magnolia interior, this example was employed by Hooper for their advertising campaign, after which one of the company investors whisked the vehicle away to Los Angeles. It was then acquired by the Calumet Collection, where it resided alongside other significant coachbuilt Rolls-Royce and Bentley examples. As such, the vehicle remains in rude health and excellent condition throughout.
With the exception of fitted chrome wire wheels, it remains in largely original and unrestored condition, with 7228 genuine miles on the odometer. Not enough for you? The Hooper Bentley is also accompanied by its original luxury accessories, including the factory cocktail set and Asprey embellishments.
The sale includes assorted build and historical documentation, a report by Rolls-Royce expert Diane Brandon and a clean CARFAX report. Get a closer look at this rarity here.
Classic Cars for Sale
We are pleased to offer this immaculately presented and what can only be described as one of the best examples of an F430 on the market currently. Finished in the desirable colour combination of Rosso with Crema (piped and stitched burgundy) Full main dealer service history and freshly serviced 15.03.19 @ 14624miles Having the desirable manual transmission it completely transforms the dr
Any Porsche 997 Turbo is a treat, and this 2007 Tiptronic example in gleaming Basalt Black Metallic is no exception, as it has a very high specification. The interior is particularly striking, as it is finished in complementing full Marble Grey and black leather, with the Porsche crest embossed on the seat headrests. The multifunction steering wheel, centre console, and instruments are finished
This 2005 Porsche 997 Carrera S has covered 16,400 miles and is in almost-new condition, inside and out. It is finished in Arctic Silver Metallic with 19-inch Carrera alloy wheels with coloured Porsche crest centre-caps, and stainless-steel tailpipes. The interior is finished in full black leather with Bose Sound Pack, PCM (Porsche Communication Management) with sat-nav, climate control and Rea
This 2005 Porsche 996 Turbo S Cabriolet Tiptronic is one of just 1500 Turbo S cars produced and we believe only 93 right-hand drive Cabriolets came to the UK, so this is a very rare beast, indeed. It’s an exciting one, too, as the S came as standard with the X50 Powerkit which raised power 30bhp to 450bhp, which gives a top speed of 190mph. This really is a supercar! To help cope with this power