Monday, September 16, 2013

R Type Continental

In 1952, Bentley, then owned by Rolls-Royce, needed to replace its Mark VI model. The R Type was the car to do it. That gave birth to the R Type Continental, pictured here, which had a top speed of nearly 120 mph, making it the fastest four-seater in the world.

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The R Type

The R Type is the second series of post-war Bentley automobiles, replacing the Mark VI. Essentially a larger-boot version of the Mk VI, the R type is regarded by some as a stop-gap before the introduction of the S series cars in 1955. As with its predecessor, a standard body was available as well as coachbuilt versions by firms including H. J. Mulliner & Co., Park Ward, Harold Radford, Freestone and Webb and others.

Other than the radiator grilles and the carburation there was little difference between the standard Bentley R Type and the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn. The R Type was the more popular marque, with some 2,500 units manufactured during its run to the Silver Dawn's 760.

R-Type Continental

Despite its name, the two-door Continental was produced principally for the domestic home market, the majority of cars produced (207, plus BC26A, AKA Olga, the prototype) being right-hand drive, with a 43 left-hand drive examples produced for use abroad. The chassis was produced at the Rolls Royce Crewe factory and shared many components with the standard R type. 

Other than the R-Type standard steel saloon, R-Type Continentals were delivered as rolling chassis to the coachbuilder of choice. Coachwork for most of these cars was completed by H. J. Mulliner & Co. who mainly built them in fastback coupe form. Other coachwork came from Park Ward (London) who built six, later including a drophead coupe version. Franay (Paris) built five, Graber (Wichtrach, Switzerland) built three, one of them later altered by Köng (Basle, Switzerland), and Pininfarina made one. James Young (London) built in 1954 a Sports Saloon for the owner of the company, James Barclay.

The early R Type Continental has essentially the same engine as the standard R Type, but with modified carburation, induction and exhaust manifolds along with higher gear ratios.[3] After July 1954 the car was fitted with an engine, having now a larger bore of 94.62 mm (3.7 in) with a total displacement of 4.9 L (4887 cc/298 in³). The compression ratio was raised to 7.25:1.

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