Lot 344

Cliveden House

1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports Saloon by H.J. Mulliner


£450,000 - £550,000 GBP 

United Kingdom | Taplow, Berkshire, United Kingdom



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Chassis No.
Engine No.
To be offered on Wednesday, 12 June 2024
  • One of only 207 production examples of the R-Type Continental built
  • Finished in Pacific Green over Beige hide interior; specified in right-hand drive and lavishly optioned from the factory
  • Matching-numbers 4,566-cc, six-cylinder engine paired with the desirable four-speed manual transmission
  • Complete known history with six owners from new; acquired by the consigning keeper in 2010; benefits from a comprehensive history file
  • Accompanied by a Bentley handbook, service manual, copies of the build sheets and maintenance guide, plus tool kit, spare wheel, jack, and period-style fire extinguisher

Just 207 examples of Bentley’s R-Type Continental were made during its 1952 to 1955 build run, with many gaining Sports Saloon coachwork by H.J. Mulliner. Beyond the polished wood facia lay a 4,566-cc, six-cylinder engine that carried the car to a 115 mph top speed, making this sporting-yet-luxury cruiser the fastest four-seat production car in the world at the time.

Sold via London’s Kingsbury Motors dealership, chassis BC61C was delivered on 5 May 1954 to its first owner, Mr L C Hudson, the Birmingham-based producer of ACME whistles. He specified right-hand drive and a four-speed, close-ratio, synchromesh gearbox for his Pacific Green over Beige hide R-Type. He generously applied optional extras, most notably adding upgraded Le Mans-style headlights by Lucas, a two-inch-wider passenger seat, an armrest, three-way petrol pump switch, additional “GB” exterior badging, plus a Negretti and Zambra altimeter.

Perfectly equipped for his tastes, records show that Mr Hudson covered over 100,000 miles before selling the car to Mr Melville-Smith at the turn of the decade. Chassis BC61C was thoroughly serviced, including an engine overhaul, by Rolls-Royce at Crewe in preparation for a November 1963 sale to New Zealand, arranged by Bentley specialist Stanley Sedgwick of London. Believed to be the only R-Type in the country, it was owned by Wellington jeweller Ian Maxwell-Stewart until 1973, thereafter spending three years in Christchurch. Subsequently, it was bought by Mr Jim Sawers, who retained the car for some 34 years, in that time commissioning a rebuild of the gearbox, matching-numbers engine, and suspension.

This car was then bought by its consigning owner, who returned it to the UK in 2010. Between February 2015 and December of the following year, £38,281 was paid to Pride and Joy Classics in Essex to have, among other maintenance, the boot and carpets retrimmed, dashboard rewired, brakes serviced, and chassis protected (invoices available to view on file). More recently, £1,388 was spent on servicing the Bentley at Ed Watson & Co in December 2021, before an annual service and MoT were completed the following June at Broughtons of Cheltenham (since taken over by H.R. Owen) for £992.

Beyond benefiting from a known history from new, which has been thoroughly recorded, chassis BC61C is complemented by a Bentley handbook, service manual, copies of the build sheets and maintenance guide, plus tool kit, spare wheel, jack, and a period-correct cabin-fitted fire extinguisher. This fine example awaits its next owner to once again be cherished and enjoyed.