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Auto blogTue, 27 May 2014 16:57:00 EST
When it comes to street-legal cars there's "power," there's "Power" and then there's "PAHRRRRRR!" This Bentley Continental GT dragster built by Webster Engineering in Bedford, England owns that third category, with its 3,082-horsepower heartbeat erupting from a twin-turbo, 10.2-liter Chevrolet V8 crate motor built by Steve Morris Engines. An entrant in the Street Eliminator Class of last weekend's European Drag Racing Championship, it is fully road legal.
As you might expect, it's not exactly a factory-fresh Continental GT, more like an authentic Bentley bodyshell placed over a tube-frame chassis and a carbon-fiber-heavy interior that took eight months and 250,000 pounds ($420,763 US) to finish. It will be driven by its owner, Yorkshire watch repairer Steve Neimantas. Builder Jon Webster told Autoblog that they're hoping for times in the "mid to low sevens on street tires and 6's on slicks."
You can watch a couple videos of the engine running and the car on the go below.
It's a good time to be in the luxury car business. In Volkswagen Group's financial report for the 2013 fiscal year, it is revealed that that Porsche enjoyed an operating margin of 18 percent. That means the Stuttgart brand made on average about $23,200 per car sold, according to BusinessWeek. Bentley wasn't far behind, and Audi (which was combined with Lamborghini) posted a 10.1 percent margin. This compares to only around 2.9 percent for the Volkswagen brand.
"Luxury brands are on fire," said Dave Sullivan, an industry analyst at AutoPacific. He said that the average profit margin is between six and eight percent. Brands like Porsche and Bentley have the benefit of competing in rarefied markets. Buyers looking at one their vehicles have fewer models to shop against and don't care as much about price. They can also charge more for options, which further boosts income, according to BusinessWeek.
In a way, we should be more impressed by the continued success from Audi. Its models generally have direct competitors in every segment from the other premium automakers. Plus, their buyers aren't the captains of industry who are shopping for a Bentley. Still, the Four Rings is leading rivals in sales so far this year.
Bentley and Porsche are two of the jewels in Volkswagen Group's luxury brand crown, but in Florida they also have a very tenuous connection with crime. With his multiple face and neck tattoos, including a Bentley logo right between his eyes, Derek Denesevich (pictured above) has been charged with the surprising crime of alleged identity theft. He recently surrendered to a Florida court, and could face seven years in prison, if convicted.
You might wonder where Porsche fits into this. According to the Sun Sentinel, Denesevich's accomplice was one Porscha Kyles, who worked for the Broward Clerk of Courts. She allegedly used her access to driver's license records to steal information and sell it to Denesevich. He is then accused of filing fraudulent income taxes to recoup the refund checks.
According to the Sentinel, Kyles has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy and identity theft and was sentenced to three years and one day in prison. The duo reportedly stole over 100 identities and made at least $120,000. Scroll down for a video about this pair of auto-related criminals.