1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS

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Lot 104
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé
Coachwork by H J Mulliner Registration no. not UK registered Chassis no. B73RS

Sold for £ 88,550 (US$ 120,791) inc. premium
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé
Coachwork by H J Mulliner

Registration no. not UK registered
Chassis no. B73RS
*Rare coachbuilt R-Type soft-top
*Previously registered in the UK as 'RMA 764'
*Present ownership since 1996
*Registered in the Republic of Ireland

Footnotes

  • 'In June 1952 the R-Type was presented to the public and it owed its name to the fact that the VI series had by this time reached the chassis letter R...(it) became one of the most popular Bentleys ever built.' – Adams & Roberts, 'A Pride of Bentleys', NEL, 1978.

    The policy of rationalisation begun in the late 1930s continued at Rolls-Royce after WW2 with the introduction of standard bodywork on the Mark VI 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 Mark VI, 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 Mark VI, 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 Mark VI (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 being known as the R-Type Bentley and E-Series Silver Dawn.

    The two newcomers were the first Rolls-Royce products available with automatic transmission, the company having opted for General Motors' Hydra-Matic, a state-of-the-art four-speed unit permitting manual selection. The standard R-Type was a lively performer, achieving 106mph in silence and reaching 50mph from a standstill in 10 seconds despite a kerb weight approaching two tons.

    As had been the norm prior to WW2, the R-Type could be ordered in chassis form for bodying by specialist coachbuilders. Indeed, as the factory did not offer a convertible or drophead coupé, a coachbuilt car was the only option if one's preference was Bentley-style fresh air motoring. This example's elegant two-door four-light body is the work of London-based H J Mulliner, the company responsible for the sublime coachwork of the R-Type Bentley Continental. Copy chassis cards on file reveal that 'B73RS' was retailed via Joseph Cockshoot & Co of Manchester for their customer, E Boydell & Co Ltd of Old Trafford, Manchester. The Bentley was originally registered as 'RMA 764'. Only one subsequent owner is listed: Guy Warburton of Harrison Blair & Co Ltd, who acquired the car in March 1962.

    Well-known dealer Peter Harper brought the R-Type back from the USA circa 1989 and in 1994 sold it to the Messenger Group (V5 on file). Another old V5 on file lists the next owner as one Stephen John Norbury of Knutsford (from 1995). Purchased at auction for the current vendor's private collection in 1996, the Bentley has been registered in the Republic of Ireland since 1997. As well as the aforementioned V5s, the history file also contains a quantity of expired MoT certificates and sundry invoices for work carried out in the 1990s by Scott-Moncrieff and Chris Shenton.
Contacts
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
1953 Bentley R-Type 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé  Chassis no. B73RS
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