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Car of the Month - January 2007
Bentley R-Type, 1954, #B268WH
Radford 'Countryman' Modifications
Guy Harold Richard Radford built up a reputation for fine coachwork
during the period after WW II. He had taken over Seary & Macready, a small
specialist coachbuilder and relocated premises from North-London to
Ealing. It was a most unlikely time, because the number of independent
coachbuilders was dwindling steadily. Indeed the take-over of Seary &
Macready who previously had built bodies to the order of Radford might
indicate the owners of that company were happy to have found someone
investing in what anyone considered to be "risky business".
After a mere 10 bodies had been built on R-Type chassis Radford very
cleverly found a
way-out of the problem that traditional coachbuilding resulted in costs
so high that the sale price of such a car became almost prohibitively
expensive. In 1954 he opted for a major change by modifying standard steel
sports saloons as supplied ex-factory.
In outward appearance there was a major difference in the form of a
two-part 'clamshell' hinged tail gate. This revolutionary feature was
executed so well that it followed precisely the lines of the basic design.
From a long list of options a costumer could select folding rear seats, a
wash basin and mirror incorporated into the lower of the 'clamshell' boot
lip, flask holders, tachometer, special front seat armrests, electric
windows, etc. etc.
An almost complete list of such goodies is found on #B268WH – no
wonder, because this was the first such R-Type modified by Harold Radford.