The Bentley R-Type Continental celebrates its 70th anniversary. It was the fastest and most expensive car in the world

It’s been 70 years since production of the legendary R-Type Continental began, which in the 1950s was the fastest and most expensive four-seater in the world. A total of 208 examples of this model were built. It is the most famous vehicle in the British brand’s extensive range of grand touring cars.

The Bentley R-Type Continental is one of the most popular cars in the brand’s over one hundred year history. It is also the first model to be called Continental. Despite only 208 units produced, the R-Type Continental has gone down in automotive history as a symbol of the British manufacturer and the embodiment of the brand’s GT model DNA.

The prototype of the R-Type Continental (known as “Olga” in honor of the OLG490 registration received) was manufactured in August 1951. Production of the car did not begin until a year later in May and customers received the first vehicles ordered in June 1952. At that time, it was the fastest and most expensive four-seater car in the world. It cost £6,928, four times the average UK house price in 1952, and was synonymous with wealth.

Bentley R-Type Continental, Photo: Press Materials / Bentley

Bentley R-Type Continental – the first model to be called Continental

The creators of the legendary Bentley model were chief design engineer Ivan Evernden and stylist John Blatchley. In creating the concept, they were inspired by two pre-war cars of enormous mass and remarkably cleanliness – the Bentley “Embiricos” and the Mk V Corniche. The fruit of this creative effort is an elegant coupé version based on the Bentley R-Type sedan. The output of the 4,566 cc straight-six engine was increased from 140 to 153 hp, and the gearbox was fitted with a higher final ratio. The average speed reached by the prototype during testing on the Montlhèry circuit near Paris was 191.1 km/h.

The first production car was delivered in June 1952. By the time production ended in 1955, 208 R-Type Continental models had been built. The vast majority of them, 193, came from the HJ Mulliner factory. The other authors are Park Ward (6 including 4 without a roof), Franay (5), Graber (3) and Farina (1).

JAS 949 – a unique copy of the Crewe manufacturer

The Bentley Heritage Collection includes the JAS 949 R-Type Continental BC16C chassis The “JAS” was built in 1953 and its first owner, Dr Rowland Guenin of Switzerland, received it the same year in December. It is a vehicle with an unusual specification: the interior of the car was done in ivory and red and was fitted with a manual gearbox. The JAS 949 still exists today with the original 4.6l engine. The car became the property of the British marque in 2001. Since then it has made regular appearances at Bentley campus exhibitions and motoring events around the world.

Bentley Continental GT – the modern interpretation of a legend

Sleek body lines that extend from the front wheel arch, a muscular, expressive rear hump and a gracefully sloping roofline – this is the contemporary interpretation of the R-Type Continental. The exterior design of the last three Continental GT generations was inspired by the iconic vehicle. In the latest version, Continental GT Speed ​​gains even more dynamic performance.

Bentley Type R Continental
Bentley R-Type Continental & Continental GT Speed, Photo: Press Material / Bentley

The new Bentley Continental GT Speed ​​is the top-of-the-range edition of the car fanatic coupe that Bentley describes as the most dynamic Bentley ever. The British manufacturer claims it is the most agile and sporty road-going Bentley ever made. Under the hood hides a 6-liter twin-supercharged W12 that generates 650 hp of power and 900 Nm of peak torque. From 0 to 100 km/h, the car accelerates in 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 335 km/h.

Leave a Comment