1954 Bentley R Type / Photos, Specs, Styling, Production Details

Featured in this article is a fine looking 1954 Bentley R Type Coupe. The Bentley R Type automobiles were produced from 1952 to 1955. Following the R Type Series, Bentley introduced their S Series in 1955.

bentley r type
1954 Bentley R Type Coupe

Bentley Motors Limited was founded in a north London suburb by W.O. Bentley and his brother H.M. Bentley. They built the first Bentley automobile in 1919.

Bentley was taken over by Rolls Royce in 1931 and became a sub model for Rolls until 1970. Rolls Royce acquired Bentley after the latter suffered losses due to the Great Depression. Several luxury automakers folded during the 1930’s with Auburn Cord staying in business until 1936. Rolls Royce itself, founded in 1904, was aided during the Depression years with their manufacturing of aircraft engines.

The Bentley’s during this four decade period were considered by many to be rebadged Rolls Royce models although they were separate nameplates. As with many automakers there have been mergers and acquisitions and today Bentley is owned by the Volkswagen Group and Rolls Royce by BMW.

Bentley’s R Type Automobiles

Bentley’s R Type automobiles represented their second series since the war’s end. The R Type replaced the Bentley Mark IV which came out right after the war in 1946. The R Type automobiles were basically a large boot version of the Bentley Mark IV.

As part of the R Type Series, there was the Bentley R Type Continental. These Continental models featured aerodynamic bodies that were produced by coach builder H.J. Mulliner using lightweight aluminum. The R Type Continental was considered the fastest four seat automobile in the world with a top speed of 100 MPH.

H. J. Mulliner was in business ever since the turn of the twentieth century (1887). H.J Mulliner and Company was an extension of an ongoing family business.

The roots of this company has been traced back to the year 1559 as the makers of carriers and saddles. Eventually, H.J. Mulliner was bought by Rolls Royce in 1959 and merged it with their in-house coach builder Park Ward.

Another well known British coach builder, E. D. Abbott Ltd, produced sixteen Bentley R Type Coupe bodies which make these examples today very very rare.

1954 bentley

Bentley R Type Interior

Bentley’s R Type Inside featured leather wrapped seats and door cards along with  wood trim and chromed handles. The car’s dashboard was exquisite covered in lacquered wood along with a three-spoke steering wheel. The gear stick was on the driver’s right side floor. This was true for even right hand drive vehicles. Bentley interiors are mostly hand built which raises the quality to a very high standard.

1954 Bentley R Type Specifications

The 1954 Bentley R Type was built with a 4.9 liter inline six engine delivering 150 HP. This was an upgrade from the 1953 example which was built with a 4,6 liter inline six with 130 HP.

Transmissions available were a four speed manual and an optional four speed automatic. This was a license built version of GM’s four-speed Hydra-matic automatic. t

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums. Front wheels have hydraulic operation with a mechanical operation on the rear along with a mechanically driven servo motor.

Independent Coil-Spring front suspension with a Live Axle and Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs on the rear. .

Overall outside length is 206.5 inches, wheelbase 120.0 inches, height 66.0 inches, width 71.5 inches. Curb weight 4,140 lbs.

54 bentley r type

Total Bentley R Type production was 2,323 vehicles. The Bentley R Type Continental production came in at 208 vehicles. This was 207 regular production cars and one prototype.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below..

1959 Bentley S1 Saloon

1977 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith

Reference material for this article includes…A 100 Years of Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars by Larry S. Glenn…Rolls Royce Silver Cloud : The Complete Story by author James Taylor.
The Bentley R Type Collector Automobile
The Bentley R Type luxury automobiles are obviously very rare with only 2,323 vehicles produced over it’s entire production run. If you happen to come across a R Type Continental example they are very much more rare.
There is a wide range of asking prices and auction results for the Bentley R Type Coupe and Saloon models. We currently see R Type’s with sales prices from $35,000 to $100,000.
bentley automobiles
Auction prices that have been attained for beautiful restored examples of the Bentley R Type Continental with very high originality average in the range of $200,000 to $350,000. These sales prices reflect the extreme rarity of the Continental models. Examples have also sold lower and some quite higher.
(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)