HomeCar NewsBentley R-Type Continental Was World's Fastest Four-Seater In 1952

Bentley R-Type Continental Was World’s Fastest Four-Seater In 1952

The luxury brand is celebrating 70 years of Continental with a look at the rare original.

Bentley has been in business for over a century. However, the Continental nameplate was originally used by the luxury manufacturer in 1952. In honour of Bentley’s 70th anniversary, the company looks back at the R-Type Continental, the forerunner of the modern Continental GT.

Not just today, but also in the 1950s, the Bentley R-Type Continental was a rare sight. Only 208 vehicles were produced by Bentley during its three-year production cycle, which ended in 1955. When it was first released, it was the world’s fastest four-seat car, as well as one of the most costly, costing £6,928 (about $8,737 at today’s currency rates). This sum was four times the average property price in the United Kingdom at the time.

The R-Type Continental was designed by Chief Projects Engineer Ivan Evernden and Chief Stylist John Blatchley and was driven by a 4.6-liter inline-six engine that produced 153 horsepower (113 kilowatts). Over five laps at the banked Montlhèry track, its prototype averaged 118.75 miles per hour (191 kilometres per hour).

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HJ Mulliner bodied 193 of the 208 examples produced, with Park Ward (four dropheads and two coupes), Franay (five), Graber (three), and Farina (one) completing the remaining limited-run production.

One of the remaining R-Type Continental units is currently under the care of the Bentley Heritage Collection, as seen in the photographs above. The chassis number is BC16C, and the registration number is JAS 949.

Dr. Rowland Guenin of Switzerland was the first owner of JAS, as Bentley called it. Bentley purchased the unit in 2001, which was ordered in Ivory with a Red interior. It has been kept in outstanding mechanical condition since then, while the patina has been preserved. The classic car is regularly driven and displayed on the Bentley campus as well as at events across the world.

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