1954 Bentley R-Type Coupé by Abbott

Lot Number: 855

1954 Bentley R-Type Coupé by Abbott

Delivered new to The Earl of Sefton, this stunning R-Type is bodied by E.D. Abbott of Farnham, Surrey in 'Continental' style. Only a handful of such were constructed, and offer stunning styling for a fraction of the cost of the celebrated Fastback Continental.

  • Sold for an undisclosed sum.

LIVE AUCTION: This lot was auctioned on Saturday 20th May, 2023 at 1.00pm BST at Sywell Aerodrome, Sywell, Northampton, NN6 0BN

  • Body Colour

    BODY COLOUR
    Ascot Grey

  • Drive

    DRIVE
    RHD

  • Registration Number

    REG NUMBER
    OYE 700

SUMMARY

Delivered new to The Earl of Sefton, this stunning R-Type is bodied by E.D. Abbott of Farnham, Surrey in 'Continental' style. Only a handful of such were constructed, and offer stunning styling for a fraction of the cost of the celebrated Fastback Continental.

DESCRIPTION

In June 1952, Bentley’s new R-Type was presented to the public and it owed its name to the fact that the VI Series had, by this time, reached the chassis letter ‘R’. The new model continued to utilise the MkVI’s independent front suspension, hydraulic front brakes and six-cylinder, 'F-head' power unit, by now extended to 4,566cc. The standard R-Type was a lively performer, achieving 106mph in silence and reached 50mph from standstill in 10 seconds, despite a curb weight approaching two tonnes.

As usual, the R-Type could be ordered in chassis form for bodying by specialist coachbuilders and this manual transmission example was the work of E.D. Abbott of Farnham, Surrey. The stylish, streamlined Continental-style fastback coupé coachwork, designed by Abbott's stylist Peter Woodgate, had been intended for the superseded MkVI chassis and bore more than a passing resemblance to H J Mulliner's contemporary Bentley Continental. After two prototypes had been completed, Abbott bodied 14 'production' cars, that offered here being the first. Of the remaining 13, one was fitted with automatic transmission and one was built with left-hand drive.

We understand that B393SP, was sold new to The Earl of Sefton bodied in ‘Continental’ style by Abbott, as a two-door coupé in Ascot Grey.

OYE 700 is accompanied by a fascinating history file which contains a list of previous owners which confirm that the car’s first owner was indeed the Rt. Hon. Earl of Sefton at Croxteth Hall. In 1968 it became the property of Richard Clover from Worcester and ten years later, it was registered to the Midland Record Company (Peter John Riley). Jeremy Pemberton of Yellowhammer PLC. acquired the Bentley in 1990 before selling it in 2004 to specialists dealers Frank Dale and Stepsons who, according to invoices in the file, carried out quite a lot of work on the car. A Michael Percival is listed as owning the car in 2004 with Eric Adkins in 2005 prior to Mr and Mrs Silverstone also in 2005. The famous car-collecting dentist, Dr James Hull added it to his Collection in late 2009 and, naturally, it moved to our vendor’s significant Collection around 2012 when Dr Hull sold everything.

There are a number of older invoices with the car and it appears that by 1985, whilst in Peter Riley’s custodianship, the Bentley was looking a little sad. A.B.Price, Automobile Engineers of Studley provided an ‘Estimate’ dated 4th February 1985 for “Totally stripping coachwork, rebuilding corroded and damaged panelwork, re-cellulosing the car, replacing wood frame in body structure, completely refitting the interior woodwork and reassembling all fittings etc”. The estimate totalled £14,338. Invoices over the next 18 months totalling over £20,000 from A.B.Price detail the work completed and later invoices over the years from Frank Dale & Stepsons and Hillier Hill detail subsequent maintenance and repairs with the most recent one dated 8th October 2011 recording the odometer reading of 50,572 miles.

The history file also contains a number of old V5s, a dozen older MOTs, lots of correspondence, the original ‘buff’ logbook, its R Type Bentley Handbook, an article by Bill Medcalf entitled 'R-Type Continentals' and a booklet called ‘Twenty Years of Crewe Bentleys’ . Additionally there is also a letter from Bentley confirming that they would like OYE 700 to be displayed at the factory as part of ‘The Bentley Experience’.

The current indicated mileage is 50,893 meaning that the car has only covered just over 300 miles in the last dozen years, however, having been in two prominent collections this is not surprising. It has been looked after undoubtedly, and presents supremely with gleaming paintwork and a gently patinated interior with beige leather, excellent veneers and an unmarked Mulliner headlining. The engine bay is very tidy however as the car hasn't been used for a number of years. Some level of recommissioning is to be expected.

This was the first of the Abbott-bodied cars and one can only imagine the sort of attention the 'swoopy' Continental bodywork would have generated back in 1954, matched only by the sort of admiration it would garner in 2023. We encourage you to view this remarkable piece of automotive art in the metal and appreciate the sheer quality on offer.

 

SPECIFICATION

Lot Number
855
Make
BENTLEY
Model
R-TYPE
Variant
Abbott Coupe
Registration Number
OYE 700
MOT Expiry
Exempt
Chassis Number
B393SP
Engine Number
B446S
Transmission
Manual
Body Colour
Ascot Grey

CONSIGNOR

Consignor

For further information regarding this lot please contact Rob.

CONTACT

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