Transmission : Single
dry-plate clutch; 4 sped gearbox,
synchromesh on 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear; 4 speed automatic gearbox optional.
Chassis : Big diameter. single-pipe system.
Dimensions : Wheelbase 120 inches
Performance : Max. speed 116.9 mph (188.09 km/h)
Total Made: 208
H J Mulliner built the coachwork for the prototype of the R Continental, because Rolls-Royce enjoyed a close connection with this independent coachbuilder. The two door coupe offered four seats and a limited boot. Rolls-Royce tested the body in a wind tunnel, a procedure that they had first investigated in August 1936. The outcome of these tests had been the recognition that the rear wings should be finned to achieve the necessary directional stability.
Beside this streamlining a modification to the exhaust system was responsible for the outstanding performance of the R Continental; twenty-five extra brake horse power had been won, because the exhaust gas flow had been improved.
When introduced in 1952 the R Type Continental, with its top speed of some 117 mph (188 km/h) held a prominent position as the fastest four seater production sports car in the world. For the time being it was strictly an export model only. After the first 100 examples had been delivered it became available on the English market.
Almost all R Type Continentals received the stylish coupe coachwork by H J Mulliner. Only a few examples were delivered to coachbuilders like Pinin Farina, Graber orPark Ward. Rolls-Royce insisted on strict adherence to specified weight limits. Only two types of tyres could withstand the high speed of the R Continental - and this only if light weight was assured. A heavy body did not unduly restrict the potentials of the R Type Continental. Hefty optional equipment, which customers thought necessary, was more a threat to counter the efforts of the designers to save spare ounces.
In all,207 Bentley R Type Continentals were built. In addition the prototype survived, having been used as a demonstrator for several years; fortunately it was not "reduced to produce". The prototype fell into the hands of a dedicated enthusiast which ensured its continued well-being.