Lot 323: Bentley R-Type Special Coupe
Launched in mid-1952, the R-Type represented the '2nd Generation' of post-war Bentleys. The latter had first appeared in 1946 in the form of the MkVI, which was produced alongside its Rolls-Royce sibling, the Silver Wraith. Both cars retained the traditional separate chassis but for the first time there was standard coachwork. This new 'standard steel' body - produced by the Pressed Steel Company, of Oxford - was available at first only on the Bentley, the equivalent Rolls-Royce - the Silver Dawn - not appearing until 1949. The range featured a new design of independent front suspension, hydraulic front brakes and a new 4,257cc, six-cylinder, 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) engine, destined for enlargement to 4,566cc in 1951. Representing a much-needed improvement to the standard bodywork, the R-Type featured an enlarged boot together with associated changes to the rear wings and suspension. The standard R-Type was a lively performer, achieving 106mph in silence and reaching 50mph from standstill in 10 seconds despite a curb weight approaching two tons. Some 2,320 of these handsome cars were built between 1952 and 1955. This special R-Type two-seater fastback coupé is a rare example of a post-war Bentley modified for competition. The car was built by Robert Peel to the special order of the late Robert (Bob) Gooda, and at one time was jointly owned by racer Brian Dumps, who had raced it at a BDC meeting at Silverstone in 1967. Chassis number 'B77ZX' is well known and is featured in the Bentley book, Fifty Years of the Marque by Johnnie Greene. The car has been fully restored within the last few years and recently completed the Colorado Grand 1000-mile tour. It has been finished in British Racing Green and striped to create a distinctive bold look, while other unique touches include a louvered hood, painted radiator shell, custom-built wheels and purposeful racing vents front and rear. In excellent running condition and needing nothing, the vehicle is said to perform very strongly and hold the road like a sports car. 'B77ZX' was shown at the Quail; A Motorsports Gathering during the Monterey classic car events on August 15th 2008, and since the Colorado Grand has been used sparingly on special runs and events only. Just after the Quail show the Bentley was driven around Pebble Beach and the Monterey Peninsula, receiving attention that would flatter many a more prestigious and expensive motor car. Offered with California Certificate of Title, this one-off, special-order Bentley can be raced, shown or toured. For the fortunate next owner, it affords the exciting prospect of driving one of the most luxurious cars of its era at racing speeds on the racetrack. There can be few more stylish ways to go motor racing. Presented in restored and event-ready condition, 'B77ZX' represents great value and there is nothing like it. It offers the new owner a unique entry into one of historic racing's most exclusive clubs, as well as a most elegant way to arrive at the track or post-event dinner.
Motorcycle and Motorcars|
Bonhams & Butterfields, Los Angeles
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