1954 1954 Bentley R Type Continental

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1954
  • Car type 
    Other
  • Lot number 
    135
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other

Description

Despite its name, the two-door Continental was produced principally for the domestic home market with just 208 built, 165 of these in righthand drive guise. Like many handcrafted coach-built cars of the period the chassis were produced at the Rolls-Royce Crewe factory and shared many components with the standard R-Type. Coachwork for the majority of cars was completed by H. J. Mulliner & Co. who mainly built them in Fastback Coupé form. A definitive style of coachwork, the lightweight, aluminium wind tunnel-developed fastback of H.J. Mulliner centred strongly on keeping weight to a minimum in order to retain as much power and performance as possible.

The R-Type Continental was the first four-seater sports coupé capable of speeds of up to 120mph. The early R-Type Continental had essentially the same engine as the standard R-Type but with modified carburation, induction and exhaust manifolds along with higher gear ratios. The A, B and C Series cars were fitted with 4.5 litre engines that displaced 4,566cc and produced 158bhp. In July of 1954 production of the D-Series cars began with the bore increased to 3¾ inches, raising the displacement to 4,877cc as present here. Mated to a manual gearbox as with BC41D the result is a potent continental cruiser or surprisingly docile and manageable city charger.

No stranger to the concours lawns having scooped the ‘Most Elegant Design' crown at Salon Privé 2013, this late D-Series Fastback was extensively restored by P&A Wood in the 1980's and was part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations at Silverstone on 31st August 2002. In current ownership this proven motorcar has delivered more than 12,000 trouble-free continental touring miles across Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy and Sardinia. Manufactured on the 13th September 1954 and sold to Mr J A Holland there have been just nine subsequent keepers before passing to the enviable collection of our vendor in 2008. Reluctantly now offered for sale because of an irresistible opportunity to breathe new life into yet another Crewe Bentley, this tried and proven motorcar is positively glorious in every respect. Residing at one of the most prestigious addresses in London BC41D is regularly exercised and consistently maintained by expert craftsmen and respected marque specialists; Clark & Carter of Braintree, Essex. Constantly and painstakingly fettled and improved the result of these hours of adjustment and refinement mean this car would be a pleasure to own and live with.

Presented in Midnight Blue paintwork and complemented by rich Magnolia leather trim and light carpets, this is in our opinion the preferred colour scheme of such a car. On researching the car's history it was discovered to have been ordered with the roof strengthened to accept a roof-rack, six fitted suitcases, a one-piece rear bumper and an oblong recessed number plate. Finally, it was also requested with recessed cubby-holes behind a sliding panel in each of the doors. Whilst regrettably the suitcases no longer accompany the car we're grateful the roof-rack never came to fruition. It does however boast several well-considered and discreet upgrades which have been sympathetically incorporated to enhance the driving pleasure. Not least of these is the addition of front and rear seat belts, a bespoke air conditioning unit which blows ice cold and required a tasteful redesign of the dashboard arrangement, rear fog lights, halogen bulbs, a discreet rear strip brake light beneath the bumper and a classic radio fascia with modern MP3 compatibility. The antenna to which is disguised beneath the undercarriage of the car so as not to compromise the smooth lines of the body. All these upgrades have been completed to the highest standard and with the greatest sympathy to originality and not so much as a wood screw out of place. We previously described this car as being ‘proven'; you'll not disagree.

With many trouble-free continental touring miles already to its name this most elegant of benchmark collector cars is ready to deliver so many more under new stewardship. Low production coach built cars from discerning marques such as Bentley will doubtless never cease to hit the high notes. Don't underestimate how few opportunities may remain to contribute a D-Series Manual R-Type Continental Fastback in such resplendent order as this to your collection.