Bentley R Type

The Bentley R- Type Continental is a two-door, four-seat luxury car that was produced from 1952 to 1955 by Bentley in 207 copies. It was a special edition of the Bentley R-Type, which was regarded as the fastest four-seater of its time and was often referred to as a " flying carpet ". The most common version is a two-door hatchback coupe with a pontoon body, which was produced by HJ Mulliner. Today it is one of the most coveted British classic cars and reached on the classic market high six -figure prices. Some chassis were produced with different superstructures other body works.


The Bentley R-Type Bentley was the last model, which differed in the technical and stylistic range of the vehicles of the parent company Rolls- Royce. Only with the 1955 imported Rolls- Royce Silver Cloud and Bentley S1 the autonomy of both brands has been lifted. The special features of the Bentley brand regularly included the development of sporting special models that were derived from the respective volume models.

An example of this is the so-called Embiricos Bentley 1938, a lightweight sports car on the chassis of a Bentley 4 ¼ Litre, which was equipped with a designed by Georges Paulin and produced at Pourtout hatchback body. The Embiricos Bentley in 1938 was used both in the UK and in continental Europe with several high -speed runs; here he broke several speed records. Press reports of this car attracted considerable attention; it was because of his bets on the European continent for the first time - called the Bentley Continental - albeit unofficially.

This tradition is followed up with the Bentley R- Type Continental, whose development began in 1950. According to the ideas of the developers, the vehicle should be significantly faster than the conventional R-Type models. Therefore, they put emphasis on aerodynamic body and to reduce weight. The R - Type Continental was a commercial success. The work presented in 1956 another series, which were based on the technology of the successor (S series), but stylistically oriented to the R-Type coupe.


The Continental shared the essential technical components with the standard R-Type. Base of the vehicle was a lead frame. The suspension was here and there in front of coil springs with wishbones, the rear a live axle was mounted. The delay was about four drum brakes. Power steering was not available.

Power was in the early years of the known from the standard saloon -line six -cylinder engine with 4.5 liter displacement. Compared to the standard saloon, the compression was slightly increased, while the rear axle was in view of a higher top speed changed (4 -speed manual transmission ). The top speed was approximately 190 km / h, the Bescheleunigung from 0-100 km / h 13.5 seconds approx. The selling price in the U.S. was $ 17,330, equivalent to almost four times the most expensive Cadillac coupe. In July 1954, the Continental received an enlarged 4.9 liter engine, whose power is estimated to be around 170 hp. This engine remained the Continental reserved; in the standard models he was not available. With the larger engine and an automatic transmission was introduced, which was optionally available.

Prototype: " Olga"

1951 was built on the chassis No. BC26A a prototype of the R- Type Continental, the body of the Mulliner Fastback Coupé equivalent. The vehicle received a factory internal name Olga (after the registration number OLG490 ). Olga was tested in the summer of 1951. Located at an elevation of Ile- de -France Autodrome de Linas- Montlhery the test drivers achieved a top speed of nearly 120 miles per hour, which was communicated effective advertising in the subsequent period in the press. In these runs, the car was, however, equipped with racing tires from Dunlop, which exhibited increased adhesion. With standard tires and any extra equipment installed on the customer's production cars came later to a top speed of 115 miles per hour.

The Mulliner Sports Saloon

The most widespread version of the R-Type Continental is a called a two-door hatchback coupe with Sports Saloon pontoon body that was built by HJ Mulliner. Through the pontoon construction, the vehicle took off from the base model of R-Type, which was still karossiert normally with free-standing fenders. The design of the structure was the result of a collaboration of Stanley Watts, Chief stylist of the - at that time still independent - body manufacturer HJ Mulliner, and John Blatchley, the Chief Designer of Rolls- Royce.

The structure was based on the one hand to the fastback coupe from General Motors like the Cadillac 62 coupe that had come on the market in 1948, and the other on the Bentley Mark VI Cresta, a special version of the Bentley Mark VI. The Crests in 1947 was designed by Pininfarina 1947. The French coachbuilder Facel had produced him in the next two years in about 17 copies. The roof structure of the Continental was based on Pininfarina Cresta and took place in a " uniform, stunning curved line " of the windscreen to the rear bumper down. The form of the boot was optimized using wind tunnel tests. The front end, which had two recessed into the front panel round headlights, quoted Pininfarina design. The rear fenders were designed emphasizes roundish. The wheel arches were free in the standard version; to customer, however, was a cover to be installed, which had the purpose to improve the aerodynamics of the body in addition.

The structure was made ​​entirely of aluminum in view of the desired reduction in weight, the supporting frame, the body was not - as in the standard sedan - made ​​of wood but of steel.

HJ Mulliners Continental version came in 190 copies, with between four series (A-, B-, C- and D- series) is differentiated, which differ in some details. Rolls- Royce in Crewe produced the drivable chassis that was transported by truck to Mulliners and provided there with the aluminum construction. The Fastback Coupe Mulliner cost at launch £ 7,600, £ 2,800 more than the R-Type Saloon with standard bodywork.

Further additions

From 1952 to 1953 Bentley Continental delivered the chassis exclusively at HJ Mulliners. As of 1954, the road trim chassis were now freely available so that other body corporate could produce according to customer self- assemblies:

  • At Park Ward, a Rolls-Royce belonging to companies originated in two years, six structures, including a convertible.
  • The Paris coachbuilders Franay dressed a five chassis; the structures were very similar to the HJMulliner Designs.
  • Pininfarina karossierte the Continental as a two -seat coupe with a notchback and just cut roof construction. The curved B-column followed the line of the windshield. The car had a composite of three individual parts rear panoramic window. The car built on the chassis No. BC49C was a one-off. It still exists.
  • James Young have another single piece of her.


After the R- Type Continental had proved successful, Bentley sold the concept continues with the 1955 introduction of the S - series. From 1955 to 1959, the Bentley S1 Continental emerged whose fastback body of the R-Type corresponded, but was also available with a four-door Mulliner bodywork. From 1959 to 1962, a second series named Bentley S2 Continental was launched, which was now equipped with an eight-cylinder engine. From 1963 to 1966, finally came the Bentley S3 Continental, whose bodies follow a completely different line. At the front end wore the models were dressed by Mulliner Park Ward, obliquely arranged twin headlights, which are usually referred to in the literature as "Chinese Eyes".

Market situation today

Most of the 207 R -Type Continentals still exist. Her story is mostly known; many owners are members of one of the brand clubs. The R -Type Continentals are coveted classic, the Fastback models by HJ Mulliner are most sought after. More than the later, often comparable versions of the S- series, they are sought after by enthusiasts because they " best represent the firstfruits the original idea of the concept ." A London dealer described the situation by saying, "Everyone and his brother want to have an R- Type." The dealers now have difficulties to meet the demand. This led to a rapid increase in prices. From 2005 to 2010, the price of an R- Type Continental in good condition from £ 125,000 to over £ 400,000.