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Lot 053: Bentley R-Type

Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (24 June 2009)

Imposing, handsome and above all dignified, the Bentley R-Type is one of those cars that just exudes class from every well turned angle. And it doesn't just look good, as Autocar pointed out: "Years of painstaking research and development with mechanical perfection as the goal show their results unmistakably. Smoothness and quietness and sheer quality are in the superlative."

Introduced at the 1952 Earls Court Motor Show, the R-Type was a subtle reworking of its MkVI predecessor and would have been called the MkVII had Jaguar not just appropriated the name for their flagship saloon. Effectively a longer booted version of the MkVI, it was powered by a silky smooth 'Big Bore' 4,566cc straight-six engine with twin SU carbs and aluminium cylinder head. Despite weighing nearly two tons, it was a spritely performer, especially in manual guise, achieving 106mph in near silence and reaching 50 from standstill in just 10 seconds. Servo assisted drum brakes provided the stopping power while suspension was independent with coil springs to the front, leaf springs to the rear. Enjoyable to drive with a light surefooted feel, it had enough power to give other cars a serious run for their money.

Inside things got even better, the lucky occupants cossetted in acres of hide and walnut that truly justified the cliche of 'a gentlemans club on wheels'. Just 2,320 examples were made before the R-Type was replaced by the much larger S1 in 1955. All the more surprising then, that they are such good value today, being more or less in the same price bracket as a humdrum MkII Jag  a situation that we feel sure cannot continue much longer.

Looking particularly striking in Garnet over Regal Red, this 1954 example has the desirable manual gearbox and is said to be in very good condition throughout. Put into dry storage in 1975 when the mileage was 84,225, the car was recommissioned about 18 months ago by marque specialists Walker & Bamforth at a cost of �5,300. It is now said to drive beautifully and has covered over 1,000 trouble-free miles since the recommissioning was completed. It is now showing around 86,000 miles on the clock. The car has also been fitted with new inner and outer sills and has been treated to a bare metal respray. The interior is said to be in lovely original condition with new carpets just fitted. The underside is said to be exceptionally sound (see photo above).

Recently fitted with four new tyres and a new battery, it has a current MOT and tax and comes with a buff log book and modern V5C.

Lot Details
Auction Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster
TypeCar
Lot Number053
Estimate£15000-£18000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£15000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1954
Condition rating0
Registration numberNXL 222
Mileage-
Chassis numberB111TO
Engine numberB55T
Engine capacity (cc)4566
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors