Bentley Continental

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Bentley Continental
Bentley Continental GT (II) – Frontansicht (3), 30. August 2011, Düsseldorf.jpg
2013 Bentley Continental GT (II)
Manufacturer Bentley Motors
Production 1952–1965
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
2-door coupé
2-door convertible
Layout FR layout

Bentley has used the Continental name on several generations of luxury automobiles since 1952.

From 1952 to 1965[edit]

The 'Embiricos' Bentley by Portout of Paris 1938
acknowledged inspiration for the Continental Bentleys[1]

Following World War II, Bentley moved to resume production of civilian automobiles, and its factory was relocated from Derby to Crewe. There, Bentley engineers produced so-called R-Type Continentals for three years, from 1952 to 1955.[2] These were derivatives of the original R-Type,[3] the second series in Bentley's postwar luxury lineup.

The R-Type Continental's chassis was independently produced and sold to custom coach-builders. One of the world's most expensive automobiles,[4] only about 208 R-Type Continentals were built in total.

Following the R-Type Continental, the Continental S1, S2 and S3 were released consecutively beginning in 1955. The S1 was well received, 49 being built[5] though some reviewers considered the boot space inadequate.[6] The deficiency was addressed on later vehicles.[7] The S2, unveiled in 1959, debuted with a new L Series V-8 engine,[8] still used in contemporary Bentleys like the Mulsanne. It also incorporated air conditioning and standard power steering, considered cutting-edge amenities at the time. The S3, for its part, was distinguishable by its "four-headlamps in the front wings."[9]

During the 1950s and early '60s, the Bentley Continental was marketed for its powerful engine and lowered suspensions, thought to improve performance for high-speed touring. The fastback coupe's distinctive angle-free, lightweight design also helped establish its British manufacturers' prosperity for the post-war era.

In 2015 a 1952 R Type Continental, in unrestored condition, sold for over $1 million USD.[10]

The second generation of the Continental ended in 1965 with the introduction of the replacement T Series.[11] The Continental nameplate would not be revived until 1984.

Production Timeline[edit]

1952 to 1965[edit]

1984 to 2002 - post-coachbuilder cars[edit]

With the introduction of the Bentley T-series with its unitary construction, Continental chassis were no longer made available to coachbuilders.

2003 to date - post-Vickers cars[edit]

Next generation[edit]

The next-generation Bentley Continental is scheduled for 2018, and it will include a plug-in hybrid variant. Bentley will borrow the plug-in hybrid powertrain from the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Martin Bennett, John Blatchley Bentley Continental: Corniche & Azure 1951-2002. Martin Bennett, 2010
  2. ^ "History". Bentley Motors. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Bentley R Type
  4. ^ "1954 Bentley R Type news, pictures, and information". Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Classic Cars, May 2010, page 114
  6. ^ Motorist´s Compendium and Driver´s Almanack, Dec 1959
  7. ^ Bentley S1
  8. ^ Bentley V8 engine
  9. ^ "Bentley history: Cricklewood, then Derby and for the last 60 years at Crewe". Bentley Media. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "Rare Bentley Brings Big Dollars At Auction". Pursuing W.O. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "Bentley Continental". Wikicar. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Loveday, Eric (2016-02-25). "Next-Generation Bentley Continental To Get Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain From Porsche Cayenne PHEV". Retrieved 2016-02-25.