• Year of manufacture 
  • Chassis number 
  • Engine number 
  • Lot number 
  • Drive 
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1954 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Sports Saloon
Registration no. WSJ 389
Chassis no. B51ZX
Engine no. B25Z

The policy of rationalisation begun in the late 1930s continued at Rolls-Royce after the war with the introduction of standard bodywork on the Mark VI Bentley. Rolls-Royce's first post-WW2 product, the latter was introduced in 1946, a year ahead of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith which, although mechanically similar to the Mark VI, was nevertheless exclusively a coachbuilt car. The new 'standard steel' body - produced by the Pressed Steel Company, of Oxford - was available at first only on the Bentley Mark VI, the equivalent Rolls-Royce - the Silver Dawn - not appearing until 1949. A separate chassis was retained, the same basic design being built in three different wheelbase lengths, that of the Mark VI (and Silver Dawn) measuring 10' exactly. The Crewe-built range featured a new design of independent front suspension, hydraulic front brakes and a new 4,257cc, six-cylinder, 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) power unit. The latter was enlarged to 4,566cc in 1951 while a much-needed improvement to the standard bodywork arrived mid-way through 1952 in the shape of an enlarged boot together with associated alterations to the rear wings and suspension, subsequent models incorporating these changes being known as the R-Type Bentley and E-Series Silver Dawn.

An elegant and desirable Bentley sports saloon, standard steel chassis number 'B512X' is traditionally finished in black over silver with grey leather interior, and has the optional automatic transmission. Copy chassis cards on file reveal that the Bentley was retailed by J Olding & Co Ltd of London W1 and sold via Dec Autos of Newcastle-on-Tyne to G Stephenson (Builders & Contractors) Ltd of Bishop Auckland, County Durham. Its original colour scheme was Velvet Green/Shell Grey with grey upholstery.

The current registered keeper, an engineer, acquired the car in February 2006 and is reported to have maintained it well, including an engine overhaul in 2010. Although the car has been repainted, it retains its original interior, the latter beautifully patinated. Regularly driven to many R-REC and BDC events, it comes with its original tools, including a complete set in the under-seat tray, and also has a large file containing service history, expired MoT certificates and copies of the aforementioned chassis cards. Although now exempt from testing, the car has an MoT certificate valid until April 2016.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
United Kingdom
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Bonhams Collectors’ Car department