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Lot 345: Bentley R-Type Saloon

Motorcycle and Motorcars, Bonhams & Butterfields (14 November 2009)

"In June 1952 the R-Type was presented to the public and it owed its name to the fact that the VI series had by this time reached the chassis letter R...(it) became one of the most popular Bentleys ever built."  Adams & Roberts, A Pride of Bentleys, NEL, 1978.

Rolls-Royce commenced production post-war with the Silver Wraith and Bentley MkVI models. The traditional separate chassis was retained for the two newcomers, 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) power unit destined for enlargement to 4,566cc in 1951. A much-needed improvement to the standard bodywork arrived in mid-1952 in the shape of an enlarged boot together with associated changes to the rear wings and suspension, subsequent models being known as the R-Type Bentley and E-Series Silver Dawn. 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.

This righthand-drive R-Type with 'standard steel' coachwork and manual transmission has spent most of its life on the West Coast, largely in the car-friendly climate in California prior to the purchase of the car by the vendor who has kept it in the Pacific Northwest. While in California, a comprehensive mechanical rebuild was performed by marque specialist Robert Gross Esq. The engine was completely stripped and block received full-length cylinder sleeves which were then machine to standard bore. New pistons, rings, valves, and bearings were also fitted. The clutch was replaced, the oil and water pumps, brakes (including servos), and front were all rebuilt (the latter with new king pins). Inside, the wood trim was professionally refinished and all new leather, carpets, and headliner were installed. The rear window blind operates properly.

Since the completion of the overhaul, the car has covered about 4,000 miles. So confident is the vendor in his Bentley, that he'll be driving it 1,250 miles to the sale! The original owner's handbook, jack, tire pump, and flashlight are all included. Offered on an Oregon Certificate of Title.

Lot Details
Auction Motorcycle and Motorcars
Bonhams & Butterfields, Los Angeles
TypeCar
Lot Number345
Estimate$30000-$40000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$25000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$29250
Year1953
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis numberB504 TN
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors