With only 208 examples produced, the R-Type Continental was as rare a sight in the 1950s as it is today – but it went down in history as a benchmark Bentley, and the embodiment of the brand’s grand touring DNA. Its ethos and its exterior design were the inspiration for the first Continental GT in 2003, and it has inspired Bentley Design teams ever since.
While the first prototype R-Type Continental (known as ‘Olga’ thanks to its OLG490 registration) was on the road in August 1951, it wasn’t until May 1952 that the car went into production, with customer deliveries starting in June. At the time, it was the fastest four-seat car in the world – a mantle that was picked-up by the modern-day Continental GT in 2003. It was also the most expensive, at £6,928 – nearly four times the 1952 average UK house price.