1953 Bentley R-Type Steel body
Lot 237
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Saloon Chassis no. B415SP Engine no. B457S
Sold for £16,100 (US$ 27,033) inc. premium
Lot Details
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Saloon
Registration no. NUU 772
Chassis no. B415SP
Engine no. B457S


  • 'In a very short time, however, it was easily seen that the pressed steel Bentley bodies were as elegantly proportioned, as highly finished and as comfortably furnished as anything the traditional coachbuilders of the past had done; with the added virtues of immunity from rot and greater rigidity.' - Anthony Bird & Ian Hallows, 'The Rolls-Royce Motor Car', 1964.
    The policy of rationalisation begun in the late 1930s continued at Rolls-Royce after the war with the introduction of standard bodywork on the MkVI Bentley. Rolls-Royce's first post-WW2 product, the latter was introduced in 1946, a year ahead of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith which, although mechanically similar to the MkVI, was nevertheless exclusively a coachbuilt car. The new 'standard steel' body - produced by the Pressed Steel Company, of Oxford - was available at first only on the Bentley MkVI, the equivalent Rolls-Royce - the Silver Dawn - not appearing until 1949. A separate chassis was retained, the same basic design being built in three different wheelbase lengths, that of the MkVI (and Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn) measuring 10' exactly. The Crewe-built range featured a new design of independent front suspension, hydraulic front brakes and a new 4,257cc, six-cylinder, 'F-head' (inlet-over-exhaust) power unit. The latter was enlarged to 4,566cc in 1951 while a much-needed improvement to the standard bodywork arrived mid-way through 1952 in the shape of an enlarged boot together with associated alterations to the rear wings and suspension. Subsequent models incorporating these changes were known as the R-Type Bentley and E-Series Silver Dawn.
    This 'standard steel' R-Type was treated to a 'body off' restoration in 2006/7 when work undertaken included repainting the chassis; stripping and cleaning the engine and fitting new big-end bearing shells and head gasket; sealing the fuel tank; fitting new rubber bushes (including front torque arm balls); overhauling the brakes (including master and wheel cylinders); renewing the clutch bearing; replacing one of the silencer boxes; and re-upholstering the seats. Derby Plating re-chromed the brightwork. Described by the vendor as in generally good condition, the car is offered with sundry restoration invoices, MoT/tax to July 2012 and Swansea V5 document. Stainless steel front exhaust pipes and a twin-race ball bearing in the rear axle are the only notified deviations from factory specification.
  1. Rob Hubbard
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