1952 Bentley R Type Continental

Year : 1952
Make : Bentley
Model : R Type Continental
Coachbuilder : H.J.Mulliner
Body Type : Fastback
Colour : White
Trim : Red Leather
Technical Data : Four speed manual gearbox, 6 cylinder in-line configuration engine, 4.5 litres displacement, 4566cc capacity. Drum brakes servo-assisted.

History

The decision was taken in 1950 to develop a Bentley motor car capable of producing high maximum speeds ideal for Continental touring on the long straight roads of Europe. The higher speeds were to be coupled with correspondingly high rates of acceleration and excellent handling. In order to achieve these lofty ambitions a tremendous amount of research and testing were conducted using quarter scale models in the Hucknall wind tunnel. Extensive testing and alterations allowed Ivan Evernden and John Blatchley of the Motor Car Division to design a body not only of exceptional style, but also of an aerodynamic shape that reduced drag and achieved excellent levels of stability even at speeds in excess of 100mph. By late summer of 1951 the drawings and scale models became reality with the creation of the prototype R Type Continental which in time became known as OLGA. Every weight saving opportunity was taken in the production of OLGA, with the majority of the car being crafted from lightweight aluminium. This included the body, window frames, bumpers and even the seat frames. In September of 1951 testing began in France under the supervision of Walter Sleator who was the managing director of Garage Franco-Britannique, the Rolls-Royce agent in Paris. Sleator was well qualified for such a task being an ex-racing driver. Following extensive testing and refinements production began in early 1952. The R Type Continental was at the time the fastest production four seater car in the world, capable of speeds of well in excess of 100mph. The Continental chassis shared many similarities with the Mk VI and R Type chassis, sharing suspension, steering and brake components. However the combination of the fitment of a high ratio back axle, the lightweight construction and the smaller sleeker body style resulted in performance that was far and beyond superior to any car Bentley had previously produced in the post war era. The chassis were assembled in Crewe with the vast majority of the 208 built then transported to London by train where they were fitted with coachwork by H.J. Mulliner of Chiswick, with all but fifteen cars fitted with their fastback bodies. The A, B and C series cars were fitted with 4.5 litre engines that displaced 4,566cc and produced 158bhp. In July of 1954 production of the D series cars began with the bore increased to 3.75 inches, raising the displacement to 4,877cc.

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