The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)

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Lot 212
The Stan West Collection
1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon
Registration no. 412 HYL

Sold for £ 642,200 (US$ 866,249) inc. premium
The Stan West Collection
1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon
Coachwork by H J Mulliner

Registration no. 412 HYL
Chassis no. BC59D
Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
*One of only 208 produced
*Delivered new in the UK to the Hon. Lady Hogg
*Fully restored by P&A Wood during 2005-2007
*Part of the Stan West Collection since December 2009

Footnotes

  • "The vocabulary of motoring being a lame and limited thing, it is difficult to put into words the gulf that separates a Continental from the average car in all the qualities that have a bearing on safety at speed. In acceleration, in braking, in cornering power, in roadholding, in responsiveness to the controls, this Bentley is the equal of modern racing cars, and superior to some." – Raymond Mays, The Autocar, 2nd October 1953.

    Described by The Autocar as, "A new stage in the evolution of the post-war Bentley," the magnificent Continental sports saloon has been synonymous with effortless high speed cruising in the grand manner since its introduction in 1952 on the R-Type chassis. Of all-welded construction, the latter enabled the incorporation of a much-needed improvement to Rolls-Royce's standard bodywork in the shape of an enlarged boot together with associated changes to rear wings and suspension. The standard R-Type was a lively performer, achieving 106mph in silence and reaching 50mph from standstill in 10 seconds despite a kerb weight approaching two tons.

    The Continental raised this already superlative combination of high performance and exceptional refinement to hitherto unattained levels. Unlike the ordinary 'standard steel' R-Type, the Continental was bodied in the traditional manner and first appeared with what many enthusiasts consider to be the model's definitive style of coachwork - the lightweight, aluminium, wind tunnel-developed fastback of H J Mulliner. In developing the Continental, Bentley Motors made every effort to keep its weight to the minimum, knowing that this was the most effective way to achieve the maximum possible performance.

    Rolls-Royce's six-cylinder, inlet-over-exhaust engine had been enlarged from 4,257cc to 4,556cc in 1951, and as installed in the Continental benefited from an increase in compression ratio - the maximum power output, of course, remained unquoted but has been estimated at around 153bhp. As the Continental matured, there was – inevitably – an increase in weight, which was offset by the introduction of a 4,887cc engine on the 'D' and 'E' series cars, commencing in May 1954. The Continental's performance figures would have been considered excellent for an out-and-out sports car, but for a full four/five seater saloon they were exceptional: a top speed of 120mph, 100mph achievable in third gear, 50mph reached in a little over 9 seconds, and effortless cruising at the 'ton'.
    Built for export only at first, the Continental was, once delivery charges and local taxes had been paid, almost certainly the most expensive car in the world as well as the fastest capable of carrying four adults and their luggage. "The Bentley is a modern magic carpet which annihilates great distances and delivers the occupants well-nigh as fresh as when they started," concluded Autocar.

    Chassis number 'BC59D' was completed in March 1955 and first owned by the Hon. Lady Hogg. The car's original registration was 'PYL 699' and it left the factory fitted with engine number 'BCD58'. (The engine currently fitted, 'BCD26', was originally in a slightly earlier D-series Continental, 'BC27D'.) Known subsequent owners are Glanmore Investments (1959); Aire Wool Ltd (1965); A S Baird (1966); William Gilbertson-Hart (1994); Michael Lee (Australia, 2001) and Rudolph Hahnenberger (2003). Frank Dale & Stepsons added air conditioning at Mr Lee's request.

    From the contents of the history file we can see that the Continental was fully restored by renowned marque specialists P&A Wood during 2005-2007 for previous owner Rudolph Hahnenberger of Uppsala, Sweden and Harley Street, London, who had registered the car in 2003. There are numerous P&A Wood bills on file testifying to the extent of the rebuild and to Mr Hahnenberger's no-expense-spared approach to the project (inspection highly recommended).

    Stan West acquired the Continental for his collection in December 2009 and the car has continued to be maintained by P&A Wood. Related invoices are on file and the Bentley also comes with a quantity of expired MoTs and a V5C Registration Certificate. Presented in beautiful condition, 'BC59D' represents a rare opportunity to acquire a fine example of the most famous post-war Bentley benefiting from full restoration by the best in the business.

    With its outstanding aerodynamic coachwork, developed by Rolls-Royce stylist John Blatchley in collaboration with coachbuilder H J Mulliner, the R-Type Continental fastback remains the pinnacle of Bentley's achievements in the post-war era.
Contacts
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
The Stan West Collection,1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon  Chassis no. BC59D Engine no. BCD26 (see text)
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Automobilia

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Vehicles must be collected from the sale venue by 12 noon on Monday 20 September 2021, at which point all remaining unpaid lots will be uplifted by E.M.Rogers to their store at the buyers expense. If the buyer is South of London their car will be uplifted to a store near Fleet. If the buyer is North of London or overseas the car will be uplifted to a store in Northampton (please see Guide for Buyers).

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