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1954 Bentley 'R'

Story and History

1954 Bentley 'R' Type Continental - BC 69D

It's nice to have this beauty back with us again, for she was last here in Kensington in 2008 when she came to us through our friends at Kidston SA who had brokered a transaction with the previous owner, a judge at the Pebble Beach Concours, no less

Since then she has been with 2 more keepers, the first a previous customer of ours from Jack Barclay days and then to an esteemed collector, again in the USA - this Bentley is almost able to find her way across the Atlantic on her own she has made the journey so many times

The first owner bought her through the famous Franco Britannic Autos for use in France and she was specified with various special features

Synchromesh gears, RD 7465 French headlamps, Continental chassis plate, Continental bumpers, 4 high frequency horns (2 wired & 2 not wired), speedo in miles & kilometers, scuttle aerial, radio model 4300, flat petrol tank, dash heater and chrome plated outer discs

As a late 1954 example she is, as denoted in the chassis number, a 'D' series example and enjoys the larger 4.9 litre engine introduced with this series

Many earlier versions (A, B & C) have had either period upgrades or indeed later upgrades during restoration to the 4.9 capacity for it does give a little more beef in the mid range

Also contrary to popular opinion the later cars are not always the heaviest produced and, indeed, the all welded chassis was the last development and this saved 30lbs, due to the absence of steel rivets and was more rigid than the earlier versions too

Our car tipped the scales when new at 3,852lbs making her one of the lightest cars of the series

She also boasts the highly regarded sports seats and manual gears too, so it has to be said that on the road she is definitely one of the more spirited 'R' Type that we have had the pleasure of driving

So our most fortunate initial owner, Mr F Dupree an official resident of Cyprus by the way, registered her in 1955 and then kept her until 1958 when Sir Lionel Thompson, obviously a man of strong views, took charge - literally for he changed her appearance to that of a Rolls-Royce, grill from a Silver Wraith, Flying Lady mascot and all - one can only assume that he thought the best 2 door sports saloon in the World should wear the badge of "the best car in the world" and not that of the "silent sports car"

Is this the only example to be thus converted? - We think it is

There is a photograph in the Stanley Sedgwick booklet on Continental's, of her in this guise, painted white as she was to remain until 1995 (see below)

In 1961 S Howard-Collins took over the helm of BC 69D and immediately restored her back to the correct Bentley appearance - obviously these two chaps looked at things from completely different stand points

In 1978 she was purchased by GL Joberns and in 1990 she was supplied to the renowned Japanese collector Mr Hayashi of Tokyo - who kept her stored in London - a pity because back home he had the most impressive collection (possibly THE most impressive in the World at the time) of Ferrari's

Mr K Potterton became the next owner in 1995 and decided that the white paint finish was not to his liking, so had her repainted in the current hue of Black Pearl, under the direction of some more of our friends, this time Frank Dale & Stepsons - this we believe was actually the original supply colour to Mr Dupree

In 2003 she went to a private collector in Hong Kong, who also purchased, at the same time, an S1 Drophead by Park Ward & some Phantom's, and these cars were shipped to the US as part of a large collection held there

Whereupon, when the collection was disbanded in 2006 she was taken into the BlackHawk Collection; from what we can gather they only have the best in their collection, so some good accreditation here for BC 69D

Hence the next owner, most impressively, was a member of the prestigious panel of Judges for none other than the Pebble Beach Concours and what more natural for a judge of such high distinction than to have a "mint condition" Continental

From him it passed through us in 2008 to our old friend from Jack Barclays and thence, as mentioned at the beginning, to another associate in the States - this time via Frank Dales again

This chap was a keen entrant into Concours and also very happy to loan her out for static displays, achieving many awards, rosettes and cups to - probably as one would expect in reality with an example as good as this

When once again she had been repatriated here, (thanks to more friends - Cars Europe this time) we were very happy to see that she was still in completely magnificent condition, although with the paintwork 20 years old, it felt appropriate to remove this, take her back to the metal and re-apply a fresh coat of Black Pearl

Pleasingly the panel work underneath the existing paint was in exemplary condition and very little tidying up was necessary

Once completed a major service was carried out, although again nothing of any note was found to be amiss

She now looks fabulous, both inside and out - we have made a set of black Wilton carpet over mats to protect those existing - with delightful veneers and as mentioned above she is one of the smoothest and best performing 'R' Type Continental's we have come across, and to be fair we have had a few

We believe this to be one of the finest anywhere

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Specifications

Status
Previously Sold
Engine Size
Transmission Type
Miles Recorded
Chassis Number
Finance

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