1954 Bentley 'R' Type Continental
Location: United Kingdom
JUST OVER 70 years ago, Bentley Motors pulled the covers off something very special at the Paris motor show: the R-Type Continental. This swooping fastback represented a new breed of post-war coachbuilt Bentley, which moved the company further away from Rolls-Royce by offering more performance and sporting ability than its cousins.
This was a car that had been developed with an eye on the ability to cross continents at great speed and in great style. During development, it was decided that the Continental needed to cruise comfortably at 100mph, which would mean a top speed of around 120mph. To make this possible, it needed to be lighter and more powerful. The body was to be clothed in aluminium, while the standard R-Type's 4.6-litre straight-six was tweaked, with new exhaust, intake and carburation giving increased power of 153bhp compared to the standard car's 140bhp.
Almost all were bodied by HJ Mulliner and based on a fastback design from Ivan Evernden and John Blatchley. 'Honed in a wind tunnel' might be overstating it, but it underwent testing and was shaped with high-speed stability as a priority.
Built in 1954, this delightful example is we feel the best developed D-series model. A superb history file, fantastically looked after, fully restored by an industry leading figure over 6 painstaking years, and owned for the last 14 years by an owner in love with looking after her. The perfect recipe with the perfect car.
Like all great examples of these sort of cars, BC11D has a full history dating back all the way to 1970. Before 1970, BC11D was delivered new in 1954 to a Mr Mitchell of England who must of enjoyed her a lot as he used her for 12 years, before then exporting BC11D to make the roads of Monte Carlo her home for the following decade. What a site in period it must have been to have the Monegasque streets full of cars of similar ilk to BC11D, and how wonderful she was part of that era and splendour!
In 1977 she was repatriated for all but 1 year before then moving to Switzerland, for the following decade, when a very well known authority discovered and took ownership - one Peter Fischer.
Fischer is a great authority with these cars and having had our hands on some of his restored R Type Continentals before we can say with hands on experience they are a step above the rest. This car is no exception. He purchased BC11D in 2002 and undertook a 6 year restoration. Completely making the car new again.
In the process of the restoration Peter fitted some neat little upgrades, that both benefit and suit the car, as well as fitting a correct factory 4.9 engine. Firstly, he put the aluminium bumpers on from the earlier cars, as we all can agree it looks slightly better as well as the lower front spoiler which just looks amazing.
Fischer fitted an electric sun roof (that works perfectly today) which for touring and summer days is a treat! He installed a nice heater under the fascia that you cannot see but that blows nice warm air onto your feet on colder motoring journeys. He slotted a very well concealed modern radio into the fascia, that works perfectly to this day. He also fitted a nice aesthetic addition to the bonnet being the vents. A great way to help hot air funnel out of the engine bay for modern motoring - we must remember when the car was built traffic and congestion like we know today was not even thinkable. So this a welcomed addition.
Seat belts with period buckles, armrests, cubby pocket to doors and water bottle holders. Special ordered Connolly VM 846 hides, bought from Connolly's in 1995. Original matt wood finish on dashboard as per period, travelling cushions. Everything was thought for and done.
Peter then sold it to the most recent custodian, who has rallied across Europe in many a BDC tours, and similar events where all these fantastic bits of restoration masterclass have proven a worth while and well thought out addition.
So much so, Bentley Motors themselves have had BC11D back to the factory, to have the worlds oldest polaroid camera, photograph her in the Crewe House for the Opus published and only authorised Bentley Centenary Book. Lovely to have such recognition by Bentley themselves.
Over the last 14 years, P&A Wood have been caretaker to BC11D, and just before bringing her to us West Hoathly Garage performed a lovely 5,000 mile service to the tune of nearly £3,500
She runs now as good as she would of when she was delivered in 1954, but now has nearly 70 years of incredible stories. We say it often as our quality is very good but this car is a real STEP above the rest. If you are in the market for one, ours is worth a day to view & consider.