One of the most important models in the company's history.
The Bentley Continental did not start off as an actual model of a car. It was the name given to two-door sporty versions of Bentley sedans. The first of these were based on the Mark VI sedan, with coachwork by H. J. Mulliner. Though the coachwork wasn't done in-house, having only one coachbuilder handling all of a particular type of car represented an important shift to a more global strategy for Bentley, which tuned out to be a trend setter in this field.
Only 27 units of the Mark VI Continental were built, but the Mark VI and R-Type are more or less the same car. H. J. Mulliner perfected the lightweight bodywork for the R-Type, and it is this which could be considered the first real proper production Continental. It was as quick as it luxurious and good looking, and in those few years in the early 50s before Mercedes brought out the 300SL, it was the car to have. Still, only 207 R-Type Continentals were built, and are therefore rare. The 1953 example you see here is expected to go for $1.5 million to $1.7 million when RM Auctions opens bidding later this month.