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1953 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports Saloon

  • Coachwork by Mulliner
  • Chassis Number: BC1LB
  • Engine Number: BCB1
This Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports Saloon by H.J. Mulliner is one of two of the second-series 'B' models supplied with both left-hand drive and the center-shift manual transmission. It was fitted from new with lightweight aluminum frame bucket seats and Wilmot Breedon bumpers, as well as the rear fender 'spats' common to all R-Type Continentals through the late 'C' series. It was installed from the factory with the 4.6-liter engine as the 4.9-liter unit did not yet exist - it was introduced for the final 'D' and 'E' cars later, in 1954.

The car's original owner was J. Gordon Mack, of the Pennsylvania family that owned the G.C. Murphy variety store chain. Mr. Mach took delivery of the Bentley on July 16th of 1953 via New York distributor J.S. Inskip. A short time later (less than a year), the car was involved in a serious accident and was returned to the factory where it was totally remanufactured to the most current specification. The chassis was rebuilt to the latest, and lighter, welded-frame construction, and fitted with a new 4.9-litre engine. It was then sent to Mulliner for new coachwork to the original design, no. 5706. Some of the original trim hardware was reused from the first iteration. In this guise, the car was considered 'new' by the factory, and another three-year guarantee was issued.

In the summer of 1954, the car returned back to the United States, but Mr. Mack passed away soon thereafter. On October 3rd of 1956, Inskip sold the car for the estate to the second owner, Robert Publicker. On January 26th of 1961, the car was again sold by Inskip, this time to Edmond R. du Pont of Delaware. On July 18th of 1966, it was acquired by Anthony Thompson, who in January 1980 passed it to Alan W. Rothschild. The car was restored in 1988 to its present Masons Black livery with Tan leather interior. Between 1989 and 1992, the car earned RROC Senior awards, and in 1990 it earned an AACA National Senior First Prize for Mr. Rothschild.

In 1997, the car was sent to Vantage Motorworks and received an air conditioning system that duplicates that fitted to the 1953 New York show car, the only R-Type Continental known to have been delivered air-conditioned from the factory.

In its current ownership, the Bentley was given a correct-style aluminum radiator from the UK, and an upgrade to the big-valve, six-port cylinder head, as used on the Bentley S1, along with larger SU carburetors, a special distributor, and a larger-diameter tailpipe. Known as the 'OPWAS modification,' this was originally available through the factory as a retrofit to earlier Continentals in 1955.

The current caretaker has driven the car in the 2012 Copperstate 1000 where it earned the Distance Award. It received the Best Rolls-Royce or Bentley trophy from the Greystone Mansion Concours in 2012, Best in Class at the Amelia Island Concours in 2013, Best in Class during the Bentley feature year at Mar-a-Lago Classic Sports Sunday in 2014, and Most Elegant Bentley at the Boca Raton Concours d'Elegance in 2019 (the Bentley Motors centenary year).

In 2019, the car returned to Vantage Motorworks for mechanical service and cosmetic freshening, including the fitment of new Wilton carpets.

By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2021
The Type R Continental Bentley was introduced as the 'Continental Sports Saloon' in 1952. Bentley worked closely with H.J. Mulliner to develop a lightweight performance version of the postwar Mark VI Bentley. By using aluminum panels, the weight was cut form 4,078 pounds for the standard sedan to 3,739 pounds. It was the fastest 4-psasenger vehicle in the world at introduction, capable of 120 miles per hour.

This model has the upgraded 4.9 liter, water-cooled, F-Head (overhead inlet-side exhaust), 6-cylinder engine, with a center shift 4-speed manual gearbox. It is believed that fewer than 10 units were built to these specifications.

It was re-built/rebodied by the Bentley factory and H.J. Mulliner in 1954 and returned to the first owners with a fresh warranty.

2021 RM Sothebys : Monterey

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $1,300,000-USD $1,600,000 
Sale Price :
USD $1,435,000

1953 Bentley R-Type Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Bentley R-Type

(Data based on Model Year 1953 sales)
1953 BENTLEY R-TYPE CONTINENTAL FASTBACK
Chassis#: BC20A
Sold for USD$553,260
  2022 Gooding & Company : London Auction
1953 Bentley R-Type image  1953 Bentley R-Type image  
1953 Bentley R-Type
Sold for USD$46,200
  2022 Mecum : Kissimmee
 
1953 Bentley R-Type Empress Saloon
Chassis#: B25RS
Sold for USD$44,265
  2021 Worldwide Auctioneers : The 14th Annual Auburn Auction
 
1953 Bentley R-Type Saloon
Chassis#: B378TN
Sold for USD$29,150
  2021 RM Auctions : Auburn Fall
 
1953 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports Saloon by H.J. Mulliner
Chassis#: BC1LB
Sold for USD$1,435,000
  2021 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1953 Bentley R-Type image  1953 Bentley R-Type image  
1953 BENTLEY R-TYPE SALOON
Chassis#: B11SP
Sold for USD$81,003
  2021 RM Sothebys : A Passion for Elegance
 
1953 Bentley R-Type Empress by Hooper
Chassis#: B320TN
Sold for USD$49,500
  2020 RM Sothebys : Auburn Fall Auction
 
1953 Bentley R-Type Saloon (Standard Steel )
Chassis#: B501SP
Sold for USD$31,445
  2019 Historics at Brooklands - Motor Museum
 
1953 Bentley R-Type Saloon
Sold for USD$12,375
  2019 RM Auctions : Auburn Fall
 
1953 Bentley R-Type Saloon
Chassis#: B66TN
Sold for USD$12,375
  2019 Auburn Spring : RM Auctions
 
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé
Chassis#: B73RS
Sold for USD$115,744
  2019 Bonhams : Goodwood Members Meeting
 
1953 Bentley R-Type Saloon
Chassis#: B402TN
Sold for USD$46,750
  2019 RM Sothebys : Fort Lauderdale
 
1953 Bentley R-Type
Sold for USD$44,000
  2019 Mecum : Kissimmee
 
1953 Bentley R Type
Sold for USD$11,550
  2018 Mecum : Kansas City
 
1953 BENTLEY R TYPE RHD
Sold for USD$39,900
  2018 McCormick's - # 65
 
1953 BENTLEY R-TYPE SEDAN
Chassis#: B417SP
Sold for USD$25,850
  2018 Barrett-Jackson : Northeast
 
1953 Bentley R-Type Saloon
Chassis#: B95UL
Sold for USD$23,076
  2017 Bonhams : London Olympia
 
1953 Bentley R-Type Saloon Coachwork by James Young
Chassis#: B372SR
Sold for USD$19,575
  2017 Bonhams : The Beaulieu Sale
 
1953 Bentley R-Type
Chassis#: B358TN
Sold for USD$33,082
  2016 Silverstone Auctions : NEC Classic Motor Show
 
1953 Bentley Type R
Chassis#: B427SP
Sold for USD$17,600
  2016 The Finest : Aspen
 

Bentley R-Types That Failed To Sell At Auction

1953 Bentley R-Type's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1953 BENTLEY R-TYPE SALOONB484SR2021 Bonhams : Bonhams MPH May Auction $28,000$30,000
1953 Bentley Continental 4.9-litre Sports SaloonBC22A2020 Bonhams : The Bond Street Sale $550,000$700,000
1953 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports SaloonBC27C2020 Bonhams : Goodwood Speedweek $800,000$1,000,000
1953 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon by H.J. MullinerBC15B2020 RM Sothebys : Paris $700,000$800,000
1953 Bentley R-Type 2020 Mecum Auctions : Kissimmee$35,000$60,000$80,000
1953 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports SaloonBC20C2019 Bonhams : The Bond Street Sale $900,000$1,100,000
1953 Bentley R-Type SaloonB572TN2019 H & H Classics Imperial War Museum, Duxford $29,000$33,000
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre CoupéB135SP2019 Bonhams : The Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale $100,000$150,000
1953 BENTLEY R TYPE488TN2019 The Roy Savage Collection of Classic Cars $65,000$75,000
1953 Bentley R-Type SR5 Special RoadsterB61UL2018 Bonhams : Goodwood Members Meeting $70,000$90,000
1953 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon by H.J. MullinerBC20A2017 RM Sothebys : Villa Erba $1,000,000$1,300,000
1953 Bentley R-TypeB135TO2017 Barons : Classic Winter Warmer   
1953 Bentley R Type Continental FastbackBC20A2016 Barons Connoisseurs Classic Car Collection   
1953 Bentley R-Type Continental FastbackBC10LB2015 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach Concours $1,400,000$1,800,000
1953 Bentley R-Type Standard Steel SaloonB245UL2015 Historics at Brookland $15,000$20,000
1953 Bentley R-TypeB84T2012 Russo and Steele Scottsdale   
1953 Bentley R Sedan 2011 Branson Collector Car Auction Oct 22, 2011$33,000  
1953 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback by MullinerBC3C2011 Coys Auction Blenheim Palace $290,000$330,000
1953 Bentley R-Type Convertible Coachwork by Park WardB38CO5R2011 Coys Auction Blenheim Palace $55,000$70,000

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1953 Bentley R-Type

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