Back to lots

1955 Bentley R-Type Fastback Continental Coachwork by H.J. Mulliner

Lot Number: 858

1955 Bentley R-Type Fastback Continental Coachwork by H.J. Mulliner

Rarely do cars of such importance come to the open market; presented in highly original condition throughout, just 4 owners and 69,000 miles from new.

  • 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

    Dragonfly Blue

  • Drive


  • Registration Number

    PYR 1


Rarely do cars of such importance come to the open market; presented in highly original condition throughout, just 4 owners and 69,000 miles from new.


The Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback by H.J. Mulliner represents the very essence of 1950s Grand Touring. When it was unveiled in 1952, the Continental was both the world’s fastest genuine four-seater and the most expensive production car. Those fortunate enough to own one could reach 80mph in second gear and continue on to 120mph in the utmost comfort, luxury and style.

Of the 207 production R-Type Continentals built, 192 received fastback coachwork by H.J. Mulliner as developed on the prototype affectionately known as “Olga”. In every respect, the H.J. Mulliner Fastback is a stunning example of the coachbuilder’s art. From the gently curved front windscreen and the slightly raked grille to the curvaceous rear wings the design is breathtaking and evokes the graceful effortless performance that Bentley provided with its special Continental chassis. To differentiate these high-performance chassis from the more pedestrian R-Type models, Bentley designated the Continentals with a special ‘BC’ chassis number prefix.

The exceptional design of Mulliner’s Fastback was the result of extensive collaboration between the coachbuilder and Bentley Engineering offices. Mulliner went so far as to consult with Pinin Farina in the early planning stages and conducted aerodynamic testing at Milford Read’s Hucknall Flight Test Establishment using a quarter-scale clay model, resulting in a .388 Coefficient of Drag, a figure that was better than the 1961 Jaguar E-Type. Weight-saving was a critical factor and it was achieved with Mulliner’s proprietary all-aluminium lightweight construction method. The coachwork utilised Reynolds alloy for the panels, inner structure and window framing, whilst the carpet, leather and glass were referred to as ‘aero-grade' and weighed less than standard.

According to the Bentley Continental Register records in this car’s simply remarkable Owner’s File, BC3E was ordered new in April 1955 through selling agents R.C. Wimbush Ltd. in London for its first owner, A.W. Schuster Esq. The original Bill of Sale is included in the extensive file. It was painted Dragonfly Blue, a delightful hue that it continues to wear today with a classic interior trimmed in Beige to Design Number 7277 with many special features including tables to the back of seats, slit pockets and armrests, and James Young-type ashtrays. Externally the car benefits from chrome rim embellishers, family crests on the doors and a chrome badge-bar with five badges. Dating from 1955, it’s an E-Series car fitted with the more powerful 4.9-litre straight-six mated to an automatic gearbox.

The original owner enjoyed the Bentley from 1955 until sold to a friend in January 1982, when he fell ill. During his ownership, the Bentley was serviced regularly by renowned specialists P & A Wood and there are many receipts on file detailing this care and maintenance. In July 1998, Robert Bradfield inherited the car from his father and continued to use P & A Wood for the car’s needs. When it was advertised for sale some time later by P & A Wood, the advert noted its excellent, original condition throughout and confirmed that it is one of the last made, completely original and unrestored with low mileage and excellent history.

Renowned Bentley R-Type Continental specialists, Lawton Investments, sold the Bentley to Dr James Hull in February 2011, where it formed part of his extensive private collection prior to joining our vendors substantial Collection in 2014.

It should be noted that the paintwork has been polished in certain areas and remains original and dull in others and the interior trim is totally original. Upon our recent inspection with a jump battery, the Bentley ran beautifully and on a short test run it performed well, although it would benefit from a service and check over having seen little use in the past 5 years.

Rarely do cars of such importance come to the open market and this exquisite R-Type Continental Fastback would surely be visual in any collection globally and a prime candidate to win the Preservation-Class at Pebble Beach Concours.

Accompanied by the aforementioned extensive history file containing images of the car in period, the original Bill of Sale, Owners' handbook and its V5C.

Quite simply, this is the ultimate package for a true connoisseur.



Lot Number
Registration Number
MOT Expiry
Chassis Number
Body Colour
Dragonfly Blue



For further information regarding this lot please contact Rob.




All cars must be removed from the venue between 9am – 2pm on Monday 22nd May. Full payment must be received before any items are available to be released.

Our transport partner, EM Rogers, can assist with collection and delivery. Please contact them on +44 (0) 1604 755511 or for a quote.

Any cars not collected by 2pm on Monday 22nd May will be taken to EM Rogers storage facility in Northampton for a fee of £175 + VAT. Storage will be charged at £10 + VAT per day from the Monday onwards.

A member of the administration team will contact you to confirm your transport plans after the auction. If we do not hear back from you by 9am on Monday 22nd May, we will arrange for our transport partners to collect the vehicle on your behalf.


Automobilia can be collected from the auction hall on the day of the auction, between 9.30am and 5pm on Sunday 21st May or on Monday 22nd May between 9am and midday by prior appointment. After this time, it can be collected from our offices in Warwickshire or shipped to you at your expense.

Enjoy the excitement of bidding, knowing your budget has been approved and confirmed by your dedicated Account Manager at Oracle Car Finance. For further information simply click HERE for your free quote or call 03308 387 7491.

Oracle Finance

Buying anything at an auction is an exhilarating experience and it is easy to get caught up in the moment of seeing these fantastic cars, from roaring supercars to our much-loved classics, parading up and down the runway.

With our car auction finance experts, alongside our growing panel of specialist lenders, we may be able to get you pre-approved for your bespoke car finance package before you start the excitement of bidding at the event. Just one of the benefits of speaking to a member of our award-winning team here at Oracle Car Finance, is that we could help get you approved at the top end of your budget with an agreement in principle on any UK auction vehicle, so that you’re ready to bid confidently should your dream car sell at a higher price than expected. This agreement in principle tends to be valid between 30 and 90 days.

Get a free quote

Our Official Car Finance Provider, Oracle Finance, is the UK’s No.1 funder for prestige, sports and classic cars and can provide funding options for any vehicle, from £25,000 to multi-million pound classics and supercars.

A classic car or motorcycle is a source of great pride and enjoyment but, whether your car or motorcycle is in storage or on the road, you’ll need a specialist insurance policy. We have partnered with Howden Insurance a leading insurance brokers with a team dedicated to classic cars and motorcycles. They cover a vast array of classic and vintage models and only work with insurers who provide a great service and share our passion for the classic motor industry.

For a personal classic car or classic motorcycle quote, visit:

Newsletter Sign Up

Keyword Alerts