Main Index


Each Model
ever built

Special Cars...

Cars of 1998
Cars of 1999
Cars of 2000
Cars of 2001
Cars of 2002
Cars of 2003 Cars of 2004 Cars of 2005 Cars of 2006

Car of the Month

More Bentleys in these books:

M.Bennet: Bentley Continental, Corniche & Azur

Rolls-Royce and Bentley




Car of the Month - September 2007
Bentley R Continental,  1953, #BC9B
H.J. Mulliner Fastback Saloon

Bentley R Continental

With a production figure of just a few more than 200 the Bentley Continental is a very rare motor car. But then in the early 50ies there were but a few connaisseurs wealthy enough to invest the breathtaking high amount that was necessary to purchase one. They got the fastest four-seater sports car in the world that was built in series. Drivetrain and chassis were almost identical to that of the Bentley R-Type (although development had started with the pre-decessor Bentley Mark VI and indeed early cars were on Bentley Mark VI chassis). The 2-Door Fastback Saloon was built by H.J. Mulliner; only a tiny fraction of these particular model's chassis were made available to other coachbuilders.

Bentley R Continental

Some careful tuning was executed: higher compression ratio, different gearbox and the exhaust system was a straight through, two chamber (one about twice the volume of the other) with a larger diameter downpipe. But most of the extra performance was achieved by reduced weight, reduced drag and reduced frontal area. In the end tyre technology set the limit – there simply didn't exist tyres that could stand the stress of this rather heavy car being driven at very high speed for any considerable long distance. Hence Rolls-Royce – at that time they had Bentley under their wings – decided not to lay out the car for a top speed in excess of 120mph. The Bentley R Continental were fitted with a speedometer reading up to 140mph though whereas the standard version showed one whose range ended at 120mph.

Bentley R Continental Dashboard

Top of Page  

Bentley R-Type and Continental R

Shown here side by side are a 1954 Bentley R, #B77WG, in that form that was delivered ex-factory as a ‘Standard Steel Sports Saloon’ and a 1953 Bentley R Continental in its light version as a Fastback Saloon by H.J. Mulliner. This was the second-lightest Bentley R Continental ever made (only the prototype had been marginally lighter). The car was delivered with neither radio nor heating equipment and the customer had insisted on aluminium bumpers. – Even today the car's performance is so impressive that not for a moment there is any doubt why it was considered an outstanding sports car of its time. And even today it is true that there is a really expensive motor car on the road. The price-level for Bentley R did increase over the recent years – but the value of the extremely rare Bentley R Continental rocketed through the roof.

Bentley Continental R and R-Type

(©) Copyright 1997-2013 K.-J. Roßfeldt / Information on this site is for viewing and personal information only. Information and photos are protected by copyright. Any unauthorized use or reproduction of material from this site without written permission is strictly prohibited. Infringement of copyright will rise to both civil law remedies and criminal penalties.
Comments and support to: archives webmaster          Url: