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1954 Bentley R Type Continental

Year : 1954
Make : Bentley
Model : R Type Continental
Coachbuilder : H.J. Mulliner
Price : P.O.A.
Body Type : Fastback
Colour : Black
Trim : Beige Leather
Condition : Good condition throughout.
Technical Data : Four speed manual gearbox, 6 cylinder in-line configuration engine, 4.9 litres displacement, 4887cc capacity. Drum brakes servo-assisted.

History

The decision was taken in 1950 to develop a Bentley motor car capable of producing high maximum speeds ideal for Continental touring on the long straight roads of Europe. The higher speeds were to be coupled with correspondingly high rates of acceleration and excellent handling. In order to achieve these lofty ambitions a tremendous amount of research and testing were conducted using quarter scale models in the Hucknall wind tunnel. Extensive testing and alterations allowed Ivan Evernden and John Blatchley of the Motor Car Division to design a body not only of exceptional style, but also of an aerodynamic shape that reduced drag and achieved excellent levels of stability even at speeds in excess of 100mph. By late summer of 1951 the drawings and scale models became reality with the creation of the prototype R Type Continental which in time became known as OLGA. Every weight saving opportunity was taken in the production of OLGA, with the majority of the car being crafted from lightweight aluminium. This included the body, window frames, bumpers and even the seat frames. In September of 1951 testing began in France under the supervision of Walter Sleator who was the managing director of Garage Franco-Britannique, the Rolls-Royce agent in Paris. Sleator was well qualified for such a task being an ex-racing driver. Following extensive testing and refinements production began in early 1952. The R Type Continental was at the time the fastest production four seater car in the world, capable of speeds of well in excess of 100mph. The Continental chassis shared many similarities with the Mk VI and R Type chassis, sharing suspension, steering and brake components. However the combination of the fitment of a high ratio back axle, the lightweight construction and the smaller sleeker body style resulted in performance that was far and beyond superior to any car Bentley had previously produced in the post war era. The chassis were assembled in Crewe with the vast majority of the 208 built then transported to London by train where they were fitted with coachwork by H.J. Mulliner of Chiswick, with all but fifteen cars fitted with their fastback bodies. 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 3 ¾ inches, raising the displacement to 4,877cc. Chassis No BC19D’s was completed on the 1st of November 1954, fitted with body number 5735, engine number BCD18 and weighing in at 3,831 lbs. It was fitted with manual transmission, light weight seats, Wilmot Breedon bumpers, a high speed fan and its speedometer in kilometres. Its original colour scheme was velvet green coachwork with grey leather interior piped dark green. It was originally invoiced to Franco Brittanic on the 4th of July 1954 and was then redirected to Garage de l’Athenee for the Geneva Salon of 1954. It was purchased by Silvio Tricerri of Switzerland in July of 1955 and then purchased subsequently by N. Ryman. It was acquired by Frank Dale & Stepsons in the early 1970’s and has been used regularly ever since, attending many concours meetings, rallies and events all over Europe. BC19D is in almost daily use during the summer and autumn covering several thousand miles each year. This car is not for sale and remains part of our own personal collection.