“Tell Me About the Two-Tailed Pasha, Oh Sweet!”

It’s always something of a momentous occasion to chance upon an older Bentley. Here’s one.

1990 Bentley Turbo R – the first proper bearer of the winged badge, said Motor Trend.

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

1990 Bentley Turbo R: do we like that shutline?

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.

1990 Bentley Turbo R: time and corrossion are no respecter of class and status. This car will need some restoration.

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.

1990 Bentley Turbo R: the big stylistic question concerns the C-pillar. There is no step between it and the lower body. How did they resist the temptation to do that?

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.

1990 Bentley Turbo R: this where the A-pillar meets the front door and the wing and the bonnet. Compare it with how the Mercedes 190E is arranged.

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.

1990 Bentley Turbo R: I have some scratches on the lens of my camera.

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).

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

11 thoughts on ““Tell Me About the Two-Tailed Pasha, Oh Sweet!””

  1. To facilitate the comparison, can you show us how the A-pillar junction on the Mercedes 190E is arranged?

  2. Good morning Richard. I smiled at your reference to “Baggotonia” which will be lost on our non-Irish readers. Baggot Street is one of Dublin’s many fine Georgian thoroughfares:

    It is, sadly, usually choked with traffic, unlike in the image above.

    I suppose it is fitting that the Bentley is quietly mouldering away in a lane behind those fine houses where, in its prime, it might have carried a highly-paid professional such as a barrister or medical specialist to his discreet office in one of those buildings.

    Turning to the car, the SZ series Rolls-Royce and Bentley twins may look rather bombastic now and have never been loved by aficionados of the marques, but they were a huge achievement for the company, given the tumultuous circumstances that existed during their development. They were also critical to the rebirth of Bentley as a separate and distinctive marque. DTW tells the story of the SZ here:

    Acceptable in the 80’s

    1. I remember a fine restaurant (French chef included) called ‘McGrattan’s’ somewhere off Baggot Street

  3. I can’t remember if the silver-on-black registration plate is legal on a 1990 car – this Bentley would have been sold new with reflective plates, almost certainly in the UK.

  4. Sadly I don’t *think* Dublin registrations got up as far as 120k in 1990, so I suspect this car was imported after that. A pity, because I like Richard’s imagined history for it!

    On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
    That her grey paint would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
    I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
    And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

    On Dawson Street in November we tripped lightly along the rail
    By the deep ravine where can be seen the commuters travail,
    The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay –
    O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

    With sincere apologies to the shade of Patrick Kavanagh, who deserves not that I should maul his words thus. I feel it only fair to provide a link to the original, set deep in the heart of the aforementioned Baggotonia, and whose mood Richard’s piece somehow evokes:


  5. Yes – I assumed Baggotonia was somewhere in Southern Europe when I first started reading. It’s funny how assumptions colour what you’re looking at – I imagined stifling temperatures in the dry, stony streets.

    The 190’s A-pillar suggests enormous strength to me, through its design – thrusting (if I may use such a word) through the wing.

    There’s both a Bentley and a 190E for sale via the link below. I ought to be really keen on the M-B, but the lack of aircon (and other features) puts me off. It wouldn’t have done, 40 years ago.


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