Gooding & Co Offers Ultra-Original 1955 R-Type Continental

1955 Bentley R-Type Continental, BC16LD

The word ‘barn-find’ has become a bit of a cliché; hence it fails to do justice to the outstandingly original 1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback which Gooding has scooped up for its forthcoming Amelia Island sale, in Florida on 11 March.

Let’s just say that this R-Type not only represents one of the most collectible post-War models, but it has – from new – an ultra-desirable specification that will have Bentley aficionados salivating, as they tick every box on their R-Type wish-list.

BC16LD emerged from the factory just as it appears today: left-hand drive (a very rare and very desirable configuration for the R-Type Continental), with floor-mounted gearshift, lightweight bucket seats, and the larger, 4.9-litre engine. It was delivered new in France, but soon after was shipped to the US, where New York-based Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealer J.S. Inskip took delivery… and from whom it was purchased by Lt. Co. Grant Swarz, in 1966.

Gooding tells us that the car is in a well-preserved condition, retaining all its factory-delivered options, drivetrain and bodywork. Originally finished in Grey, and painted only once since then (in 1966), the car features a grey interior with red piping and is accompanied by the most remarkable period photographs and documents – a handwritten history, rather than simply service books, with a comprehensive account of, for example, the shows it attended.

At a time when originality is everything, this quite astonishing car represents a very rare chance to buy a piece of unadulterated Bentley history.

Gooding & Company has done well to secure this R-Type Continental for its Amelia Island sale but, if your automotive interests lie in a more Mediterranean direction, there’s plenty of top-flight Italian metal to choose from. Such as the 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Prototype, chassis no. 4758, hand-built as part of a factory project to develop the final variation of the Miura. Originally finished in the same colours it bears today (Fly Yellow over black interior), it’s thought that this is the 1971 Geneva show car.

1951 Ferrari 212 Export Cabriolet by Vignale - $800,000 - $1,000,000 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Prototype - 'On Request'

Other Italian delicacies include the two-owners-since-1960 1951 Ferrari 212 Export Cabriolet by Vignale, with matching numbers, full documentation and a well-known provenance (estimate: $800,000 – $1.1 million), a 1953 Siata 208 CS Berlinetta, 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso and 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona.

The Gooding & Co. Amelia Island Auction, on 11 March 2011, now starts at 3pm EST.

For further details and a glimpse of many more entries, see, call +1 310.899.1960, or email [email protected].

Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: by Scott Nidermaier © 2010 Courtesy of Gooding & Co. / Gooding & Co.

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