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Car of the Month

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Car of the Month - September 2008
Bentley R Continental,  1954, #BC46D

H.J. Mulliner Fastback Saloon

Bentley R Continental

There was a question recently: "What does it mean if a 1951 Bentley Continental is mentioned – and how does the term Corniche fit in with that?" The answer is evident from drawings which are filed in the archives here.

Bentley Corniche II

In the early stage of development of the "Bentley Continental" – which later became commonly known as Bentley R Continental – first drawings appeared with the code-name "Bentley Corniche II". Such there was a direct link to the "Corniche" from the pre-war period that had been a project which resulted in prototypes having been road-tested. What is considered to be the last drawing of a Corniche II was dated 27th Feb 1951 and shows the signature of Bill Allen. He was a member of the designer’s team at the factory and was no employee of H.J. Mulliner (the company were an independent coachbuilder at that time).

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Bentley R Continental

The vast majority of Bentley R Continental were bodied by H.J. Mulliner. The coachwork was a two-door fastback saloon which combined attractive streamlining with exceptional weight-reduction. The latter was essential for better acceleration and top speed when compared to what could be achieved with the mainstream model Bentley R-Type. Over the years there were some minor modifications – not least because the first Bentley Continental had been erected on chassis from the model-series Bentley Mark VI. As regards the 1954 version of the Bentley R Continental that is shown here a drawing from H.J. Mulliner’s works documents is added, this drawing was by H.J. Mulliner’s designer Herbert Nye. Worth a note that even then the ‘official’ designation was “Bentley Continental” – only years later the model became commonly known as Bentley R Continental.

Bentley Continental

Bentley R Continental

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