The very similar Bentley Mark VI/R Type and Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn were the world standard for their era. Their cost was more than twice that of a contemporary Cadillac. The post war models were Bentley’s first with a standard steel body. They were elegant continuing a stately pre-war stance. Yet they were sporting. Described as “Sports Saloons”, they were capable of 100 mph. Power was supplied by a 4.5 liter inline six cylinder engine with an aluminum head and twin SU carburetors. A four speed synchromesh transmission was most common with the shifter on the driver’s right. Bentley had purposefully simplified many systems for post war production . Thus many survive and the R types remain popular with collectors. They make a statement when you arrive for the big occasion and are comfortable, capable and reliable tour cars.
For 20 years this was the prize possession of an historian in upstate New York. An English car specialist in Hopewell Junction, New York, serviced it regularly. Ownership passed to a nearby Porschephile with 35 of that marque. He and his wife also have had three proper motorcars. The Bentley was used for Sunday afternoon drives and to meet other Bentley owners at a local British tavern. The owner relays that hydraulics, lights, gauges, wipers and even semaphores function well. Luxury touches include etched bud vases, a sunroof, rear picnic tables and footrests. The R type is ready to be enjoyed. Included with the motorcar is the domed British Automobile Association badge and three chauffeur hats, one of which granted access to Buckingham Palace!
“Pre war look with post war function”Jeff Trepel 2016 RROC National Meet Co-Chair and Bentley owner
The Bentley Mark VI was Rolls-Royce’s first all steel car. Previously the company had farmed most cars out to coachbuilders but emphasis shifted and the predominance were assembled in house and were nearly identical in their appearance. Over six years 5208 Bentleys and 760 Silver Dawns (differing from the Bentley only in carburetion, grill and badging) were produced. There was ample time for development. Displacement and horsepower increased. A dual exhaust was added, Other improvements followed. The planned Mark VII had to renamed and rebadged as Jaguar had had a Mark VII in production since 1950. The new Bentley was evolutionary with an identical front and but a boot that doubled in size. The R Type as it was known continued to be a huge success and another 2323 were sold over a three year period.
Rolls-Royce and Bentley have been among the most highly respected marques since their arrival on the world motoring stage. The market appreciates a great car and non coach bodied Bentleys of this era have enjoyed an ever upward trend over the last seven years. Excellent examples have doubled in value over the last 10 years.
This Bentley R type is an ideal vehicle for multiple aspects of the car hobby. Its marque club, the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club, is one of the oldest and most active. Local and regional chapters abound. With relatively large production numbers and a great support network, it’s a classic that can easily be kept in optimal condition. It’s capable and comfortable at highway speeds enabling it to tour long distances with ease. The Bentley R Type will be the car of choice to celebrate multiple occasions or to just arrive. Few will know that you accessed a world standard for a relatively modest price!Mark Moskowitz MD, lifetime member RROC