By order of the Executors of the late Lord David Strathcarron,1954 Bentley R-type 4½-litre  Special Roadster  Chassis no. B51UL Engine no. B25U
Lot 216
By order of the Executors of the late Lord David Strathcarron, 1954 Bentley R-type 4½-litre Special Roadster
Chassis no. B51UL Engine no. B25U
Sold for £ 62,000 (US$ 82,140) inc. premium

Lot Details
By order of the Executors of the late Lord David Strathcarron,1954 Bentley R-type 4½-litre  Special Roadster  Chassis no. B51UL Engine no. B25U
By order of the Executors of the late Lord David Strathcarron
1954 Bentley R-type 4½-litre Special Roadster
Coachwork by Ashton Keynes to a design by J.Gurney Nutting

Chassis no. B51UL
Engine no. B25U


  • A glance down the list of exhibits at the 1954 Earls Court Motor Show confirms what little choice the discerning motorist had available to him in his search for high speed motoring in the lap of luxury, with only the Alvis 21/100, Bristol’s Type 403 and 405, Daimler’s 4 1/2litre Sportsman Saloon and Lagonda’s 3 litre cars offering any competition at all to the Rolls-Royce and Bentley range, unless the said motorist ventured into the unfashionable range of American offerings from Cadillac or Oldsmobile or the then politically unfavoured Mercedes-Benz range.

    Little wonder then that the Bentley Stand drew the biggest crowds at Earls Court, with the R-type model, first unveiled at the 1952 Show, dazzling all-comers. Powered by the 4,566 version of the F-head six cylinder engine, first seen in the Mark VI of 1946, albeit then in 4,250cc form, the new model developed an estimate 150bhp, although Bentley were traditionally coy about disclosing actual figures. It was offered with a choice of manual or automatic transmission options. The Bentley was the luxury sports car of choice of the rich and famous, captains of industry, film stars and celebrities, and nobility and royalty across many Continents.

    Although offered with exceptionally elegant factory-built pressed steel coachwork, a rapidly dwindling band of bespoke coachbuilders remained in the 1950’s to provide individual coachwork to the demands of long-established clientele and indeed the chassis design lent itself well to the coachbuilder’s art. Few would however have dreamt that a R-type chassis would ever have been clad with a sensational body to a prewar design by top-flight coachbuilders J.Gurney Nutting and yet that is exactly what is on offer here.

    ‘B51UL’ is believed to have been delivered as a factory-bodied Standard Steel Saloon, however , probably in the late 1970’s or 1980’s, it was significantly transformed. Ashton Keynes Restorations were commissioned to replicate as closely as possible the sensational Roadster design by A.F.McNeill of J.Gurney Nutting, as fitted to the Maharajah of Indore’s Duesenberg J chassis . Flamboyant is perhaps an understatement for the styling, the sweeping and tapering lines being handsomely complemented by the raked two piece windscreen, and indeed such was the extravagance of the original design that even the R-type Bentley chassis had to be lengthened to allow McNeill’s styling to be faithfully copied. The result speaks for itself and little wonder that that great and enthusiastic motoring connoisseur, the late David Strathcarron, just had to add ‘B51UL’ to his eclectic motoring stable when it crossed his path. It was a particular favourite and regularly driven by him in prestigious motoring events – a sure head turner on every occasion. The odometer reading at the time of cataloguing, 11,125 miles, possibly suggests, we are told, the mileage since restoration.

    ‘B51UL’ is presented in two tone brown livery with maroon coach-lining and handsomely equipped with Lucas P100 headlamps, ‘owl-eye’ rear lamps, two piece windscreen with side wind deflectors and spare wheel carried in the boot. The coachwork is furnished with beige leather upholstery with biscuit-coloured leather-bound carpets and is provided with a fully disappearing beige hood with a tonneau cover. Driving equipment includes the preferred manual gearbox and a high ratio ‘Continental’ rear axle, 16inch wheels with quite new Dunlop Road Speed tyres, while one of the two quick release rear fuel fillers is a dummy for appearances sake. The spacious area behind the driver’s seat is designed to carry the owner’s Louis Vuitton luggage on the fast motor tour, but with careful design could be adapted to provide additional passenger accommodation.

    This absolutely unique Bentley, from distinguished past ownership, comes with a Swansea registration document, current MOT/road fund licence, workshop manual, instruction book and a copy of Automobile Quarterly, featuring the Maharajah’s sensational Duesenberg. Following a year or so of little use we recommend the usual careful recommissioning and servicing.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the BRDC badge shown on the car in the catalogue illustration has been retained by the vendor.
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