Bentley celebrates 70 years of the Continental badge with a look back at the original Continental – the Bentley R-Type Continental.
The core of the modern Bentley range since VW took the reins is the Continental GT – well, at least until the Bentayga arrived and started mopping up sales – and Bentley is celebrating 70 years of the Continental badge with a look back at the original Continental, the R-Type Continental.
The R-Type Continental was a sleek coupe based on Bentley’s R-Type saloon, with an aerodynamic shape – hints of which can still be seen in the modern Continental GT – with a 4.6-litre six-cylinder in-line engine delivering 153bhp, with weight kept in check by liberal use of aluminium and a top speed of 120mph.
The R-Type Continental went into production in 1952, costing from £6,928. At the time, that was four times the price of the average house in England and the equivalent of £127,000 in today’s money. Which tells you all you need to know about house prices and inflation in the intervening 70 years.
Just 208 R-Type Continentals were built – variously bodied by H J Mulliner, Park Ward and others – with the car pictured above, JAS 949, now owned by Bentley since 2001 and maintained in original condition.