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1953 Bentley R-Type Saloon

  • Coachwork by Mulliner
  • Chassis Number: BC20A
  • Engine Number: BCA19
At the 1953 Geneva Salon Bentley would debut what would become the famous R-Type. However, what would make that first R-Type so appealing would be the handywork of H.J. Mulliner designer J.P. Blatchley. Aerodynamic and light, the car would be the posterchild of the postwar sports saloon.

In total, there would be five series of the R-Type Continental. But among these series perhaps the most notable and iconic would be the streamlined sports saloons penned by Blatchley. The fastback look of the R-Type would be an amalgamation of conscripting aerodynamics into luxury, coachbuilt automobiles. All together, there would be 207 examples of the streamlined sports saloon built over the period of four years. Of these 207, more than 190 would be fitted with bodies by Mulliner.

One of to be fitted with a Mulliner coachbuilt, streamlined body would be chassis BC20A. The 'A' would denote the first series R-Type and the '20' would represent the 19th example to be built by the factory, the number 13 being omitted for superstitious reasons.

Completed in the early spring of 1953, BC20A would be delivered to Louis Schneiter of Coffet, Switzerland. However, before Schneiter would be able to take delivery of the Bentley it would make an appearance at the Geneva Salon. Complete with full 'spats' and adjustable seats, BC20A would make quite the impression.

Like every Bentley to be clothed with a Mulliner body, this particular example would be brimming with special equipment and other added extras. Some of these special features would include fog lamps, an improved steering gear for better handling, flashing-type turn signals and a radio. Despite the luxurious features, the R-Type would be all about saving weight. Altogether, the special alloy body and chassis would weigh in less than 4,000 pounds making the R-Type a beautiful saloon that had the performance to match the looks.

BC20A would make its way to Switzerland in February of 1953 and would remain in Europe into the early 1960s. At that time, the Bentley would make its way across the 'pond' to the United States and into the possession of Lamont Haggarty.

Some time later, Anthony 'Bud' Korteweg, the founder of The Coachworks, would come to own the car. It would be a fitting acquisition for the man whose facility would be well respected for its work restoring Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles.

Having come into the possession of Korteweg, the Bentley would not be hid away in seclusion. However, Korteweg would see the R-Type as more than just a show car. Having had it restored in totality, Korteweg would use the Bentley as his own personal car. The car would make appearances at events, but it would also head out on a number of trips over the course of its lifetime with Mr. Korteweg.

Having been restored to its original look and feel from when it graced the Geneva Salon in 1953, BC20A remains a fine example of the early A series R-Types and a classical embodiment of Bentley and Mulliner.

Offered at the 2014 RM Auctions event in Monterey the 1953 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon, with coachwork by Mulliner, would garner a sale price of $1,210,000.

By Jeremy McMullen

Provenance *
* Please note, dates are approximate

2022 Gooding & Company : London Auction

Pre-Auction Estimates :
£625,000-£725,000 
Sale Price :
USD $553,260 (£ 641,250.00)

2017 RM Sothebys : Villa Erba

Pre-Auction Estimates :
€1,000,000-€1,300,000 
Lot was not sold

2016 Barons Connoisseurs Classic Car Collection

Lot was not sold

2014 RM Auctions at Monterey

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $900,000-USD $1,300,000 
Sale Price :
USD $1,210,000

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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