The Bentley R-Type Continental in 21 images: the amazing story of the grandfather of the Continental GT

In 1952, it was not common for a car to exceed 185 km/h, except for some honorable exceptions, the certain sports of high-flying. For a car with space for four passengers, and their baggage, to be able to exceed 160 km/h was quite an event. That being said, we are not surprised anything that Bentley remember with nostalgia their Bentley R-Type Continental of 1952, the grandfather of the Bentley Continental GT modern, which in its day became the four-seater faster on the face of the planet exceeding 190 km/h. And that is precisely the reason why any time is a good time to remember this classic, even more if we see him sharing the screen with his grandson, the Continental GT.

the development of The R-Type Continental, which in its day was the car a 4 seater, the fastest planet, was born of the particular initiative of Ivan Evernden, who had to figure out how to convince the leaders of Bentley to launch a luxury coupe as fast as this made sense.

the development of The R-Type started when Ivan Evernden decided, out of the channels officials, begin to work with the coachbuilder H. J. Mulliner to create a stylish sports coupe, a lightweight, powerful, luxurious, and very fast. The house in london he worked tirelessly to create a prototype that, little by little, was getting the objectives pursued by Bentley. A goal that, under the code name ” OLG 490, apodarían affectionately as Olga.

As a curiosity, the managers of this company believed that the idea was too bold, in comparison with the rest of the range of a manufacturer, who also produced the luxurious sedans of Rolls-Royce. It had to be Ivan Evernden, the mind that was in a coupe of these features a great opportunity to renew the image of Bentley after the Second World War, who convinced the company that the R-Type Mulliner sense. And he got it.


The Bentley R-Type Continental would begin to be marketed in 1952, with a price of 6.928 pounds sterling of the time. By that time the average annual salary of a british hovered around the 468 pounds, and a house cost a half 1.891 pounds. We are talking about a car that cost almost as three or four houses.


Bentley came to produce 208 units of the R-Type Continental, 193 of which were canopy by H. J. Mulliner.


at The start of its development, Ivan Evernden was calculated that with an aerodynamic work is appropriate, this coupe could reach speeds of over 190 km/h while maintaining stability. In any case, the aerodynamics was essential to achieve your goal, and the perfection of his body. It is likely that thanks to this aerodynamic work the R-Type Continental with a design as elegant and attractive as it shows in these images.


In his development, Bentley worked in the wind tunnel of the section of aviation Rolls-Royce, in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, to minimize aerodynamic coefficient to the extent possible, until reaching figures far lower than those of virtually any car of the era. According to Evernden, could have gotten this car to reach speeds much higher, even above 200 km/h, but, of course, that obsession could not overshadow the need to create a car elegant and luxurious.


During the development of the R-Type Continental Mulliner managed to optimize the mechanical, weight, and aerodynamics of this car to approach the target of 193 km/h (120 mph) that had been proposed. And in September of 1951, in the circuit of Montlhèry, near Paris, already got that Olga would overcome the barrier of 190 km/h.


To save weight, the body of the Bentley R-Type Continental was assembled in aluminum, which was also used in the frames of the windows, the windshield, the bumper, and even the structure of the seats.


Imagine this Bentley following a diet very strict, style Lotus. Bentley considered that a radio was a superfluous element, without which they could still save some weight. So that the radio, which is seen in these photographs, it is only offered optionally.


engine six-cylinder in-line, and 4.566 cm3, originally used for this Bentley was enhanced to go from 140 to 153 BHP of power and its transmission was adjusted to take better advantage of the benefits of its light weight.


The design of its bodywork is inspired by the design of the Bentley bodied by Corniche Embiricos before the Second World War.


The weight – and the goal of not to exceed 1,750 kilograms – was not only important for achieving the benefits desired, but also because in those years there was a tire that would offer guarantees with a weight above and to speeds over 185 km/h.


The Bentley R-Type Continental is not only relative to the more distant of the Bentley Continental GT modern, but also the true seed of the philosophy Bentley modern, offer vehicles very luxurious, elegant and comfortable, but also powerful and fast, especially with special versions like the GT Speed.

Source: Bentley
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