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Bentley History

1954 Bentley R Type

Chassis number : BC2LD

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Sold for $1,815,000 at 2016 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island.
Just 207 (some sources say 208) R-Type Continentals were built for the fortunate few who could afford the 'idea of perfection.'

The Bentley R-Type Continental, in its day, was the world's most expensive automobile. For instance, it was 35 percent more costly than a Cadillac Special Sedan. Before the outbreak of the war in 1939, Bentley thought about producing a limited-production performance model for the new high-speed roads that were being constructed in Europe. A prototype achieved a near 100 mph average speed in testing on the German Autobahn, but WWII halted production plans. Revived in 1951, Bentley Motors worked closely with coachbuilder Mulliner and developed a lightweight performance Mark VI Bentley by using aluminum panels and reducing the 4078 pound weight to 3739 on the standard sedan.

What really made the Bentley Continental so distinctive was the fastback two-door bodywork, whose excellent aerodynamics gave the car excellent high-speed performance. The pre-war prototype had raced at LeMans in 1949 and 1950 with some success.

The six-cylinder, water-cooled engine with a displacement of 5.57 liters, produced 160 horsepower, coupled to a four-speed transmission, and had a top speed of 120 mph. The pressed channel-steel chassis carried an independent front suspension with coil springs and wishbones, a rear suspension with a semi-elliptic leaf spring, and four-wheel drum brakes.

This particular R-Type Continental was the second chassis to be built with the larger 4.9-liter engine. The powerplant was mated to a center-mounted four-speed gear change. This example is reportedly one off only seven left-hand drive cars with both the 4.9 engine and 'center shift.' The car was ordered with the optional lightweight bucket seats and rear wheel skirts. H.J Mulliner fitted the car with a Fastback Sports Saloon coachwork and finished it in Maroon with Putty interior - the same color combination it wears today.

This car was road-tested on August 16, 1954 and subsequently completed on August 21st. After the car was built, it was shipped from London to New York aboard the SS American Producer and was sold by Manhattan dealer J.S. Inskip on November 17th to its original owner, Mary Thurston Horn. In 1957, the Continental passed to its second owner, Arthur M. Young, who is believed to have tuned the car's engine for increased power. The car remained in his ownership for the remainder of his life, by which time it had been driven approximately 110,000 miles. It was sold by his estate in 1995 to a broker in the United Kingdom, for whom it was subsequently restored before being sent back to the United States in the hands of Miles Marsh. Mr. Marsh had Vantage Motorworks of Miami, Florida, which upgraded its restoration to modern Pebble Beach standards. An authentic Continental Touring Spares kit was sourced for the car and a six-piece set of fitted luggage were recreated to original Mulliner designs.

The current owner acquired the car in January of 2009, the four caretaker since new.

Sold for $1,815,000 at 2016 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island.
This Bentley R-Type Continental was the second chassis to be built with the more powerful 4.9-liter engine. She is one of only seven left-hand-drive cars finished with this configuration and is known as a 'chairs and flares' car, with desirable lightweight bucket seats and rear wheel spats. She was first sold through the New York-based Bentley and Rolls-Royce agent J.S. Inskip to Mary Thurston Horn of Fifth Avenue, who owned her until 1957 when the Continental passed to aeronautical engineer Arthur M. Young. After two further owners, the car was restored by Vantage Motorworks of Miami and made its debut at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours. Since then the car has been repainted in its original Caribbean blue.

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2016 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $1,200,000-USD $1,400,000 
Sale Price :
USD $1,815,000

1954 Bentley R Type Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Bentley R Type

(Data based on Model Year 1954 sales)
1954 BENTLEY R-TYPE CONTINENTAL FASTBACK
Chassis#: BC38LC
Sold for USD$2,975,000
  2022 Gooding & Company : Amelia Island Auction
1954 Bentley R Type image  1954 Bentley R Type image  
1954 Bentley R-Type Saloon
Chassis#: B104LWH
Sold for USD$35,840
  2021 Bonhams : Greenwich Concours dElegance Online Auction
 
1954 Bentley R-Type Saloon by James Young
Chassis#: B26WH
Sold for USD$63,800
  2021 RM Sothebys : Hershey
1954 Bentley R Type image  1954 Bentley R Type image  
1954 BENTLEY R-TYPE 4½-LITRE SALOON
Chassis#: B292YD
Sold for USD$15,118
  2021 Bonhams : Bonhams MPH May Auction
 
1954 Bentley R-Type Saloon
Chassis#: B54YD
Sold for USD$34,100
  2021 RM Sothebys : Open Roads February
 
1954 Bentley R-Type Saloon by Freestone & Webb
Chassis#: B248YD
Sold for USD$33,000
  2020 RM Sothebys : Auburn Fall Auction
 
1954 Bentley R Type
Sold for USD$13,500
  2020 GAA : July 2020
 
1954 BENTLEY R-TYPE STANDARD SALOON
Chassis#: B39ZX
Sold for USD$88,000
  2018 Barrett-Jackson : Las Vegas
 
1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports Saloon by Franay
Sold for USD$1,083,000
  2017 RM Sotheby's : Icons
 
1954 Bentley R-Type Saloon (Standard steel)
Chassis#: B64WH
Sold for USD$20,785
  2017 Historics at Brooklands-Motor Museum
 
1954 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Saloon
Chassis#: B133WG
Sold for USD$21,523
  2017 Bonhams : Goodwood Members Meeting
 
1954 Bentley R Type
Chassis#: B70YD
Sold for USD$37,671
  2016 Barons : Annual Christmas Classic - Sandown Park
 
1954 Bentley R-Type Abbott FHC
Sold for USD$50,333
  2016 RM Sothebys : Duemila Ruote
 
1954 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Saloon
Chassis#: B137YA
Sold for USD$25,914
  2016 Bonhams : Goodwood Revival
 
1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports Saloon by H.J. Mulliner
Chassis#: BC66LC
Sold for USD$1,870,000
  2016 RM Sotheby's : Monterey
1954 Bentley R Type image  1954 Bentley R Type image  
1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports Saloon by H.J. Mulliner
Chassis#: BC2LD
Sold for USD$1,815,000
  2016 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island
1954 Bentley R Type image  1954 Bentley R Type image  
1954 Bentley R Type
Sold for USD$23,100
  2015 Morphy Auctions : Premier Automobile Sale
 
1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback
Chassis#: BC41D
Sold for USD$1,012,000
  2014 Silverstone : Salon Prive
 
1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports Saloon by Franay
Chassis#: BC51LC
Sold for USD$963,235
  2014 RM Auctions : Monaco
1954 Bentley R Type image  1954 Bentley R Type image  
1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback
Chassis#: BC5LD
Sold for USD$1,980,000
  2013 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach
 

Bentley R Types That Failed To Sell At Auction

1954 Bentley R Type's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports SaloonBC70C2019 Bonhams : The Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale $500,000$700,000
1954 Bentley R Type Standard Steel SaloonB141ZX2018 Anglia Car Auctions : June 2018 $25,000$30,000
1954 Bentley R-Type Continental FastbackBC70C2016 Barons Connoisseurs Classic Car Collection   
1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports Saloon by H.J. MullinerBC14D2016 RM Sotheby's : Monaco $750,000$950,000
1954 Bentley R-Type Continental FastbackBC58D2015 Silverstone Auction Salon Prive Sale   
1954 Bentley R Type Continental Fastback£): 800,0002014 Silverstone Auction NEC Classic Motor Show 2014 $800,000$900,000
1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports SaloonBC51LC2014 Bonhams The Scottsdale Auction $1,500,000$1,750,000
1954 Bentley R-Type SaloonB155YA2012 H & H Auctions Rockingham Castle   
1954 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Sports SaloonB155YA2012 Bonhams Collectors' Motor cars and Automobilia $23,000$26,000
1954 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Sports SaloonB105WG2011 Bonhams RollsRoyce, Bentley and Select PreWar Motor Cars and Automobilia $16,000$20,000
1954 BENTLEY R TYPEB243LYA2011 McCormicks Auction #50 Palm Springs CA$28,000  
1954 BENTLEY R TYPEB243LYA2010 McCormick's Auction #49 Palm Springs, CA$39,000  
1954 Bentley R-Type CountrymanB190UM2010 Bonhams RollsRoyce, Bentley Motor Cars and Automobilia $40,000$50,000
1954 Bentley R Type Saloon 2009 Leake Auctions Houston Annual Leake Auto Auction Reliant Center$15,000  
1954 Bentley R-Type SaloonB187WG2006 Bonhams A Sale of RollsRoyce, Bentley and Select PreWar Motor Cars and Automobilia $18,000$22,000
1954 Bentley R-Type SaloonB393SP2005 Bonhams Important Collectors' Motor Cars $55,000$65,000
1954 Bentley R-Type Lightweight CoupeB77ZX2004 Vintage Motor Cars at Amelia Island$60,000$70,000$90,000
1954 Bentley R-Type CoupeB77ZX2003 Bonhams RollsRoyce & Bentley Motor Cars & Related Automobilia $30,000$40,000

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1954 Bentley R Type vehicle thumbnail image  1954 Bentley R Type vehicle thumbnail image  
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1954 Bentley R Type Profiles

1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Sport Saloon
Coachwork: James Young
1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Coupe
Coachwork: Franay
Chassis #: BC51LC
Engine #: BCC50
1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Fastback Coupe
Coachwork: Mulliner
Chassis #: BC66LC
Engine #: BCC65
1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Saloon
Coachwork: Mulliner
Chassis #: BC38LC
Engine #: BCC37
1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Fastback Coupe
Coachwork: Mulliner
Chassis #: BC2LD
1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Fastback Coupe
Coachwork: Mulliner
Chassis #: BC62LC
1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Saloon
Coachwork: Park Ward & Co.
Chassis #: BC29D
Engine #: BED28
1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Drophead Coupe
Coachwork: Park Ward & Co.
1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Fastback Coupe
Coachwork: Mulliner
1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Drophead Coupe
Coachwork: Park Ward & Co.
Chassis #: B132LTN
1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Sport Saloon
Coachwork: James Young
1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Drophead Coupe
Coachwork: Henri Chapron
Chassis #: BC63LC
1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Continental Fastback
Coachwork: Mulliner
Chassis #: BC35LC
1954 Bentley R Type vehicle information
Sport Saloon
Coachwork: James Young
Chassis #: B26WH
Engine #: B13M