1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports Saloon

Coachwork by H.J. Mulliner

The Bentley Continental, introduced in 1952, redefined high-speed luxury. Built on the R-Type chassis with a lighter aluminum body, the Continental prioritized weight reduction for maximum performance.

Unlike the standard steel R-Type, the Continental boasted a luxurious hand-built body, most notably the iconic wind tunnel-developed fastback design. Power came from an enlarged Rolls-Royce engine, estimated at around 153bhp. Later models saw engine upgrades to keep pace with the increasing weight.

The Continental’s performance was remarkable for a large sedan. It could reach a top speed of 120mph, effortlessly cruise at 100mph, and accelerate from 0 to 50mph in just over 9 seconds. This blend of power, comfort, and style cemented the Continental’s place as a legend in the world of grand touring.

Photos by Tom Wood courtesy of RM Sotheby’s