It’s always something of a momentous occasion to chance upon an older Bentley. Here’s one.
Behind the back of the back lanes of Baggotonia there can still be found a few small workshops and business such as the garage that is tending this Bentley. Now that I come to think of, I can’t
recall the last time I saw the predecessor of this class of Bentley, the T-series. And I also realise that I have grown so accustomed to the current way buildings are used in central Dublin that I had not noticed the change.
Central Dublin is arranged such that many of the larger roads have lanes running parallel behind them. Long yards or gardens joined the street with the lane; often there would be a mews house for the horse and carriage serving the big houses. Or in the late 19th century there might be built places for craftsmen to work on or places to store goods. These remained in active use until the end of the 1990s. A slow change beginning in the 70s that caused some people to convert mews houses to homes accelerated. Gardens were built over; mewses were demolished for modern buildings and the workshops and storehouses turned to residences.
Some buildings served as offices for architects and the like, (I suppose they liked the milieu). Those businesses moved out too as landlords saw a better return by selling the premises rather than renting them.
Today’s car represents a relic of the late 80s and early 90s as well as being a sign there is still a business occupying a secluded back-lane, just a rock’s throw from rather more salubrious and desirable front-street residences that characterise this part of D4.
This car appears to be a Bentley Turbo R, a model running from 1985 to 1997. It shares its body with the Spurs and Dawns (Flying and Silver) and Spirits made by Rolls Royce. For Motor Trend, this car deserved the Bentley nameplate – meaning, of course that the Mulsanne and 8 weren’t really proper Bentleys.
I suppose we have a transitional car from a transitional time. Bentley was emerging from the long Silver Shadows of the badge-engineering years. Dublin was emerging from a long period of stagnation, roughly the mid-70s onwards. This car marks the end of both phases. Bentley is now a free-standing brand in the VW group and Dublin’s central streets throng with bankers and web-developers and the lanes that were once cheap digs are now locations for bijou architect-designed homes.
I imagine that the chap who bought this car in 1990 is probably no longer with us – he’d have been in his late 50s back then, I would guess. He made his money as the property market grew hotter and retired before it had a bit of a crash in 2008. This was the car of the kind of chap who moved with the times and made a living buying and selling the lane-way properties we see here. The car itself is the successor to the horses and carriages for which the lanes were built.
(There’s also the possibility the car is a later UK import and my imagination has run away with itself).