Bentley R-type Continental D Fastback by Mulliner

Car producer : 

Bentley

Model:

R-type Continental D Fastback by Mulliner

Year:

1952-1955

Type:

Fastback



The R-Type Continental was a high-performance version of the R-Type. It was the fastest four-seat car in production at the time.

The prototype was developed by a team of designers and engineers from Rolls-Royce Ltd. and H. J. Mulliner & Co. led by Rolls-Royce's Chief Project Engineer, Ivan Evernden. Rolls-Royce worked with H. J. Mulliner instead of their own coachbuilding subsidiary Park Ward because the former had developed a lightweight body construction system using metal throughout instead of the traditional ash-framed bodies.

The styling, finalised by Stanley Watts of H. J. Mulliner, was influenced by aerodynamic testing conducted at Rolls-Royce's wind tunnel by Evernden's assistant, Milford Read. The rear fins stabilised the car at speed and made it resistant to changes in direction due to crosswinds.

A maximum kerb weight of 34 long hundredweight (1,700 kg) was specified to keep the tyres within a safe load limit at a top speed of 120 mph (190 km/h).

The prototype, with chassis number 9-B-VI and registration number OLG-490, which earned it the nickname "Olga", was on the road by August 1951. Olga and the first series of production Continentals were based on the Mark VI chassis, and used a manual mixture control on the steering wheel boss, as these versions did not have an automatic choke.

The early R Type Continental has essentially the same engine as the standard R Type, but with modified carburation, induction and exhaust manifolds along with higher gear ratios. The compression ratio was raised to 7.25:1 from the standard 6.75:1,while the final gear ratio was raised (lowered numerically) from 3.41 to 3.07.

Despite its name, the two-door Continental was produced principally for the domestic home market, most of the 207 cars produced were right-hand drive, with 43 left-hand drive examples produced for use abroad. The chassis was produced at the Rolls-Royce Crewe factory and shared many components with the standard R type. R-Type Continentals were delivered as rolling chassis to the coachbuilder of choice. Coachwork for most of these cars was completed by H. J. Mulliner & Co. who mainly built them in fastback coupe form. Other coachwork came from Park Ward (London) who built six, later including a drophead coupe version. Franay (Paris) built five, Graber (Wichtrach, Switzerland) built three, one of them later altered by Köng (Basel, Switzerland), and Pininfarina made one. James Young (London) built in 1954 a Sports Saloon for the owner of the company, James Barclay.

The early R-Type Continental had essentially the same engine as the standard R-Type but with modified carburation, induction and exhaust manifolds along with higher gear ratios. 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 3¾ inches, raising the displacement to 4,877cc as present here. Mated to a manual gearbox as with BC41D the result is a potent continental cruiser or surprisingly docile and manageable city charger.

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