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Bentley R-Type (1952 - 1955)

Last updated 24 August 2013

 
4
More flowing styling than the MkVI, option of automatic transmission makes driving simpler
Rust, restoration costs

Introduction

Introduced in 1952, the Bentley R-Type is generally regarded to be one of the most beautiful saloon cars to be built. Perhaps its elegant styling was the direct consequences of the MK VI's bulky bodywork, but whatever the reason, the R-Type’s appearance put Bentley at the top of the prestige car tree once again. Power was by Rolls-Royce's acclaimed 4.5-litresix-cylinder engine, with inlet-over-exhaust valves. This gave spirited performance and smooth progress, which, married to excellent interior insulation, made the car a quiet cruiser.

The new car again came with a standard body, but the chassis was longer and the bodywork more evenly proportioned, with a raked rear end, sweeping wheel guards and streamlined front wings. The bulky curves made access to the back seats a touch difficult, though, while interior accommodation in the cabin was cramped for such a large car. Standard-bodied cars suffered from tinworm despite well built mechanicals. A variety of coachbuilt bodies were also on offer, perhaps the most famous of which was the HJ Mulliner Continental R fastback, which is regarded as one of the most stunning car designs of all time. Most specials were aluminium and, therefore, did not rust.

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