Villa Erba

27 May 2017

1953 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon by H.J. Mulliner

  • Chassis no. BC20A
  • Engine no. BCA19

  • Shown at the 1953 Geneva Salon
  • Factory right-hand drive with “seats and spats” and manual gearbox
  • Outfitted with numerous bespoke special-order items
  • Finished in its original colours and retains its original engine
  • £40,000 in recent mechanical work; ready to be driven and enjoyed

The quintessential gentleman’s touring car, many enthusiasts regard the Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon as the most desirable post-war Bentley ever built, combining splendid performance with stately, yet elegant design and advanced aerodynamics. Chassis number BC20A falls into that earliest series of R-Type Continentals and is just the 19th R-Type Continental produced. Keen historians will note that although its chassis number would imply that it is the 20th car, Bentley skipped chassis number 13 for superstitious reasons—a tradition for the marque.

Build information sourced from the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club highlights this particular R-Type Continental’s fascinating specifications. Further to its highly desirable full “spats” over the rear wheels and lightweight adjustable seats, the car was also special-ordered with flashing-type turn indicators with amber glasses, double-filament headlamps with convex lenses, high-frequency horns with a muting switch, a speedometer in kilometres, and two fog lamps. Heavier front shock dampers and a special steering gear were specified in an effort to improve handling, and a 17-inch high-speed engine fan and unique radiator were ordered to improve cooling. A radio was also fitted; this was included in the R-Type Continental’s standard price, but in an effort to save weight, would only be installed at the owner’s request. Finally, it was finished in the quintessentially British colours of Dark Green over Beige.

The RREC records further note that the car was shown to prospective customers and the automotive press alike at the Geneva Salon in March of 1953. This took place shortly after the car was formally delivered to Louis Schneiter Esquire, a resident of Villa “Bois-Fleuri” in Coffet, Vaud, Switzerland. The car remained in Europe until 1 January 1960, at which point it was acquired by Lamont Haggarty and exported to the United States.

Later, BC20A was purchased by the late Anthony “Bud” Korteweg of River Edge, New Jersey. Korteweg was the founder of The Coachworks, a well-regarded Rolls-Royce and Bentley restoration facility with numerous awards in national competition to its name. Korteweg remains the only person to have won the Rolls-Royce Owners Club Best of Show award on three separate occasions. A Rolls-Royce and Bentley collector himself, it was completely restored under his ownership and was the final automobile restored for his personal use. It is believed that at this time, the car was fitted with a front bumper and rear seats from a later S-Type Bentley.

Acquired by its current custodian in 2014, the car returned to Europe where it was brought to the United Kingdom. In the fall of 2015, the car was sent to the Bentley specialists at The Chelsea Workshop in London. There, it received an extensive mechanical service to ensure it was fully prepared to be driven and enjoyed on a regular basis. Invoices on file for the service work amount to £40,000 in work and include work done to the brakes, suspension, engine, gearbox, and clutch.

Boasting not only factory “seats and spats” from new, retaining its original engine, and having been displayed at the Geneva Motor Show by Bentley itself, this lovely R-Type Continental certainly stands proud amongst its peers. With recent mechanical service work, it would be an ideal gentleman’s tourer, just as Bentley originally intended.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

Cameron Smyth

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Peter Wallman

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more