The Bentley R-Type was the sister model of the Rolls Royce Silver Dawn and replaced the Mark VI. As with its predecessor, a standard body was available as well as coachbuilt versions by firms including H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward, Freestone & Webb, Graber and others. There was little difference (other than the radiator grilles and the carburation) between the standard Bentley R-Type and the Rolls Royce Silver Dawn, though Bentley was still the more popular marque. Some 2,500 units were manufactured.
The front of the saloon model was identical to the Mark VI, but the boot was almost doubled in capacity and the engine increased in displacement from 4.25 to 4.5 litres (as fitted to the later Mark VI). For buyers looking for a more distinctive car, a decreasing percentage had custom coachwork.
The open top Park Ward R-Types in this gallery are referred to as Convertible or Drophead Coupe. As in true coachbuilding tradition, many design variations were possible on the same theme. The dark blue '53 example (chassis B318SR) for instance, still has the same body design as Park Ward applied to the Mk VI. The beige '54 car (chassis B202LWH) is built according to the later Park Ward design number 552 and has differently shaped fenders and waist line trim. This example is one of only eight R-Types with this specific design and the only left hand drive.
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