With their Grand Tourer style, Bentleys are proper candidates for battery power. So the brand won’t have as difficult of a time as other high-end marques in its mission to go fully electric by 2030. As for the Crewe automaker’s loud, roaring side, the aftermarket is increasingly determined to rock our world via Bentley builds that make their factory counterparts appear somewhat constrained. I’ve brought along three such machines, chief among which is the world’s first Bentley drift car.
This sliding machine comes in the form of a Continental GT. And it joins two very different—but just as extreme—Conti GTs, a drag car, and a tank-like creation.
The first Bentley drift car
The first-generation Conti GT, which is the model we have here (sort of, anyway), weighs in at almost 5,200 lbs (around 2.4 tons) and sits over 189 inches (4.8m) in length. So it’s not quite the perfect starting point for a drift car that’s supposed to change direction like a ballerina doing freestyle on her favorite remix.
However, the Continental GT drift car has switched to carbon for the body panels and many interior parts, such as the dashboard. It rides on Rotiform wheels (HURs up front and AeroDiscs at the rear), sporting the mandatory hydraulic handbrake and wide-angle steering.
Returning to that official Bentley EV point in the intro, there are many sad parts here. For one, after 20 years and 100,000 units built, the Bentley W12 engine, which debuted on the Continental GT series we have here, is going the way of the dodo in 2024. However, this slip-angle project packs a V8, but not the one you can get from the factory for newer models.
Instead, the Continental GT drift car comes with an LS swap, which allows for facile servicing at reasonable costs. Still, the naturally aspirated V8 sports individual throttle bodies! Naturally, the vehicle features an RWD conversion.
The world’s first Continental GT drift car was recently caught on camera by the sideways loonies over at the Drift Games YouTube channel. You’ll find a clip below, with the machine coming from the collection of an enthusiast nicknamed Sultan, who comes from Dubai, where people love to build lifted Mustangs, Challengers, and Camaros for dune bashing, sometimes with a 4×4 twist.
However, for the next ride on the list, we’re moving over to the home country of the Bentley brand.
Bentley Continental GT Drag Car
Since its inception, Bentley has had racing in its blood—it won Le Mans five times about a century ago. Nowadays, we get Bentley endurance race cars, but a Continental GT drag car? That’s something else.
Imagined by a Brit named Steve Neimantas, this Big B was honed to dominate the drag strip with an engine packing 3,000 hp and around 1,600 lb-ft (2,200 Nm) of torque. However, it can still be driven on the road—by contrast, the drift car above doesn’t sport number plates.
The said enthusiasts tasked Webster Race Engineering with creating this prepped surface animal about a decade ago. And the result is still spectacular today—that tends to happen when a street-legal car can run the quarter-mile in 7s at over 200 mph.
That’s a testament to what the 10.2-liter Chevy V8 under the hood can do. The unit, built by American Steve Morris (here’s his personal 4,500 hp Chevy Wagon), sends the power to the rear wheels via a Rosler three-speed transmission. Speaking of which, the uber-wide slicks at the back sit inside carbon fiber wheel wells.
Most of the vehicle’s body is still stock, which means the trunk lid and doors are aluminum, while the roof and the rear quarter panels are made of steel. Nevertheless, the front end uses plenty of carbon fiber (e.g., hood and fenders).
Number plates or not, the drag strip use means the vehicle’s structure was reinforced in case of an impact, roll cage included. Naturally, the brakes are not alone in their mission to stop the monster, with these being assisted by parachutes.
Over the years, the Continental GT drag racer has had multiple owners, one of which was an enthusiast named Ben. And, in the clip below, you’ll see the YouTubers over at Car Chat TV interviewing him, with the Bentley demonstrating a 7s 1/4-mile run on the Santa Pod Raceway at the 9:30 timestamp. As for our third and final outlandish Continental GT, this gives a whole new meaning to the words “unprepped surface”.
While the pair of Conti GT performers above is focused on cutting weight, this one is the opposite, sitting at around 7,700 lbs (3.5 tonnes). That’s not an issue, though, as the Bentley Ultratank can distribute its weight over the terrain underneath thanks to a pair of caterpillar tracks!
Back in the first part of 2019, when the world seemed to be dealing with less unrest than it does today, a group of Russian car lovers known as AcademeG went out and bought the cheapest first-generation Continental GT they could find—what do you know? Hoovie isn’t alone in such adventures.
The first-generation Conti came with a damaged frame, a W12 engine sporting ruined turbos, and issues with the automatic gearbox. In other words, a complete nightmare.
Fitting the said caterpillar tracks to the Ultratank obviously required some added metal for these to be married to the chassis and the new suspension, but building and running the thing hasn’t been exactly flawless. For one, the tracks came loose and hit the body panels on multiple occasions, while the brakes also decided to give up and had to be rebuilt.
In the end, the crew got it right, with the machine being able to travel at speeds of over 80 mph. Sure, that’s something the factory model can do in second gear, but this Trackenstein will go 80 mph just about everywhere. And, if you open the shortened doors, you can climb into a cabin that retains the complete luxury of a modern Bentley.
As its creators explain, the only aspect that limits the Continental GT’s ability to perform proper work duties in remote locations is the lackluster access to 98-octane gas, which is what the W12 engine needs.
Just seeing the driver using that lavish Bentley steering wheel that now controls a pair of full-length rubber tracks is something else. So why not check out the Bentley Ultratank playing in the snow with big rigs such as a Volvo Bandvagn 202 amphibious monster in the clip below?
The lesson of this story? In 1930, the world was stunned when a Bentley raced the famous Train Blue and won. And it seems that nowadays, we’re not far from somebody building a Bentley into a train.