The current owner of this 1955 Bentley R-type Continental Fastback reports that having previously owned an S-1 Continental Fastback, he became aware over the years that the real British icon of superb and elegant cars was the S-1’s predecessor, the R-type Continental Fastback. He set his heart on owning one of the 208 examples produced, so he eventually sold his S-1 and enlisted the help of British dealer Gregor Fisken to find the right example to purchase. He drove eight R-types in the London
area, and particularly liked the performance of chassis #BC.58.D. However, he heavily disliked its colour – Guards Red, which he felt didn’t suit this Bentley model at all. Nevertheless, he bought the car, and promptly had it repainted in the original scheme, Circassian Blue.
He says that he particularly loved this Bentley R-type’s history. The first owner was an English gentleman named R Montague Burton. He was a clothier who developed a chain of clothing stores, called Burton and Burton, selling made-to-order suits at prices that working men could afford. It’s said that if one were to purchase a complete Burton and Burton outfit – ie the
suit, vest, shirt and tie – you would have bought the ‘the Full Monty’. Thus the derivation of this very famous phrase. During World War Two, Burton made a quarter of all British military uniforms. Post-war, he campaigned the Bentley in many European rallies with his brother. Such wonderful provenance.
The R-type Continental was the first four-seat sports coupé capable of speeds up to 120mph. This example has the sought-after 4.9-litre D-series engine, plus a synchromesh gearbox, door armrests, a divided front bench seat with central armrests, two standard and two high-frequency horns, a recess in the left-hand door providing space for two crystal glasses, Le Mans-type headlights, foglamps, a radio and a special average-speed metre. Bespoke luggage for the boot was ordered and remains with the car, along with a beautifully fitted tool kit and handbook.