1955 Bentley R-Type Standard Steel Saloon

Make: Bentley
Model: R-Type Standard Steel Saloon
Year: 1955
Registration Number: VAS 902
Chassis Number: B301TO
Engine Number: B182Z
Transmission: Automatic
Steering: Right Hand Drive
MOT Test Expiry: Exempt
Sold For: £22500
Road Tax Exempt

This Bentley R-Type was first registered as POP 969 on January the 1st, 1955 and was supplied to a Mr James Gilmour of Sutton Coldfield by Rolls-Royce and Bentley distributors P. J. Evans Ltd of Birmingham.

A Mr Henry George Strong owned the motor car from August 1973 until January 1997 and as a Bentley Driver’s Club member, he was a regular Concours D’Elegance entrant, and the winner of several other events including BDC Kensington Gardens and the Midland Region Concours (two BDC awards and two lapel badges are included in the sale).

The sixth and current custodian, a Bentley Driver’s Club member, purchased the R-Type in April 2002. From June of that year and up until April 2015, Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist McKenzie-Guppy Ltd maintained the R-Type. Documented work to the motor car included an engine rebuild, the fitting of a reconditioned chassis, a cylinder head overhaul, the rebuilding of the ‘one-shot’ lubrication system, the reconditioning of the dynamo, the steering and braking systems and the brake master cylinder, the repair of the hand brake and battery cables and the overhaul of the carburettors and the starter motor (which incidentally has been rebuilt again in 2020). The gearbox was serviced, the heater fan repaired and the motor car has been fitted with a new battery, five new tyres, new fuel pump and thermostat, new engine camshaft followers, a new sender unit to the fuel tank and new exhaust silencers. Upgrades include Halogen headlamps and flashing indicators.

The body assembly, radiator, all doors, seats, trims and mechanics were removed and refitted for this work, which also comprised of a total body respray (with the O/S sill panel and the ‘A’ panel both repaired and resprayed), the fitting of new weatherstrips to the doors and a new windscreen and seal. The upholstery was restored in 2009 by Tarrant Valley Trimming and new carpets were installed at that time. General servicing has been carried out throughout the ownership and the total cost of all work was in the region of £45,000.

Robustly powered, this sporting Bentley is equipped with a 4566cc straight six engine, driven through a four speed automatic transmission and is finished in the original colour of Mason’s Black (with a gold coachline) and complimented by brown leather upholstery with a matching interior and carpets. The original factory sunroof (albeit sealed), picnic tables and Radiomobile are all present, as is the original tool tray, inspection lamp and the tools stowed away in the boot. Original instrumentation is present and in working order.

During his eighteen years of ownership, the custodian has thoroughly enjoyed his Bentley and has been an enthusiastic participant in BDC events and tours. However, due to poor health, the reluctant decision has been made to offer the motor car for sale now and although VAS 902 remains in good, usable condition with the lavish treatment detailed above still evident, it has probably now reached the stage of life it’s when it would benefit from some cosmetic improvement, should the new custodian so wish. 

The vast history supplied with the R-Type includes copies of the Bentley Works order and build sheets, numerous MOT test certificates, a large quantity of invoices (detailing the aforesaid restoration and totalling some £45000), a list of previous owners, a folder of photographs containing images of the chassis change and of the Bentley at Kensington Gardens and displayed at the BDC Dorchester Hotel awards ceremonies. The motor car was also featured in Automobile Quarterly, Volume 12, No. 2, a copy of which is also included.