First-Class Return Travel: Bentley Fastback duo at the Techno Classica

Ford, Citroën and Aston Martin have all created famous fastback designs over the years – but back in the Fifties, Bentley was at it too. At the forthcoming Essen Techno Classica, UK-based dealer Frank Dale & Stepsons will display two Mulliner-bodied fastback Bentleys...

The R Type Continental bodied by H. J. Mulliner is quite possibly one of the most elegant cars ever to begin life at the famous Crewe factory. Built to offer speed and comfort in one svelte package, it also held the record for being the fastest four-seat production car of its day. With a high-performance, straight-six engine, lightweight construction and streamlined bodywork, the car was perfectly suited to sprawling European highways. Nevertheless, not many more than 200 Continentals were ever built. Bentley and Rolls-Royce specialist Frank Dale & Stepsons is now offering one of the later ‘D Series’ examples – with engine displacement increased to 4,877cc – and will display the car at the 25th Essen Techno Classica this month. According to the dealer, the car is in ‘very good condition’, and has benefitted from a recent restoration inside and out.

First-Class Return Travel: Bentley Fastback duo at the Techno Classica

The splendid R Type will be joined on Frank Dale’s Essen stand by a similarly attractive S1 Continental, also Mulliner-bodied. The S1 arrived in 1955 as a successor to the R Type, equipped with the same 4.9-litre engine seen in the later R Type Continentals, producing around 135bhp. A stronger focus was placed on opulence than was the case with its predecessor; hence the armchair-like seats, and optional electric windows and air-conditioning. As a result, it retained the reputation earned by the R Type for being one of the great GT cars. At the Techno Classica, Frank Dale & Stepsons will be offering a 1956 Continental, finished elegantly in black with a beige leather interior – certainly a first-class return ticket, with added appreciation potential.


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Photos: Frank Dale & Stepsons