1952 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback: The very First of Just 43 Examples Specified in Left-Hand Drive
This 1952 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback is the first of just 43 examples specified in left-hand drive. An early A-series chassis, of which only 26 were built, chassis BC8LA was completed by Bentley in May 1952, and then transported to H.J. Mulliner, where it was fitted with the iconic fastback coachwork. The body fitted to BC8LA, no. 5473, was finished in an attractive combination of Silver Blue over two-tone blue Connolly leather upholstery. Factory records confirm that BC8LAs list of original equipment included heavy seats with elbow rests, a cubby compartment located under the instrument panel, and private locks on both doors. Outwardly, the Continental was equipped with steel bumpers, a plain radiator without a mascot, and wing mirrors.
As recorded in the definitive Continental register, this car was shipped to New York aboard the SS American Flyer in September 1952. That October, J.S. Inskip delivered the new Bentley to its first owner, Howard W. Kizer of Montclair, New Jersey. By the time he acquired BC8LA, Mr. Kizer was already a well-established Rolls-Royce and Bentley client, having commissioned several spectacular custom-bodied cars for his personal use. He is perhaps best known as the Texaco executive who, in the 1930s, designed the companys famous Doodlebug streamlined tanker trucks. Mr. Kizer owned BC8LA for about two years and then it was sold, via Inskip, to Dorothy King. She kept the Bentley until 1964, when Laurel Hampel of Thousand Oaks, California, acquired it. In January 1968, George Chilberg of Bonsall, California, noticed an advertisement for the Bentley in the Los Angeles Times and bought it for $2,900. An avid collector and vintage racer, Mr. Chilberg maintained a fine collection of English sports cars, including an MG L-Type, Allard J2, Lagonda LG45 Rapide, and several Bentleys: a 3 Litre, 8 Litre, and a Derby. Of all the cars he owned, Mr. Chilbergs favorite was the R-Type Continental a model he regarded as the ultimate collectible Bentley. During his 50-plus years of ownership, Mr. Chilberg drove BC8LA tens of thousands of miles and took part in numerous Bentley Drivers Club events. In the early 1990s, he carried out a comprehensive restoration that included rebuilding the engine, overhauling the mechanical systems, and refinishing the bodywork in the current tan over brown color scheme. Significantly, BC8LA still retains its matching-numbers 4.5-litre engine, no. BCA8, and original H.J. Mulliner body tag. It is accompanied by a selection of hand tools and ownership records, including the original 1968 Bill of Sale.
Among the earliest Continentals built, and the very first produced in left-hand drive, BC8LA represents an important landmark in the production of this iconic Bentley model. This Mulliner Fastback was built to order for an important American customer and cherished by one passionate caretaker for more than five decades. Whether its new owner decides to enjoy this elegant Continental in its current condition, as an ideal touring car, or restore it to its original splendor, they will be confident in knowing they have acquired a fine, historic example of the most desirable postwar Bentley.
Coachwork by H.J. Mulliner Chassis no. BC8LA Engine no. BCA8
The First of Only 43 Left-Hand-Drive R-Type Continentals Built
Delivered New to Rolls-Royce and Bentley Connoisseur Howard W. Kizer
Originally Finished in Silver Blue with Two-Tone Blue Upholstery
Well-Documented Provenance with Single Family Ownership for Five Decades
Original Coachwork and retaining its Matching-Numbers Engine
Featured in the Authoritative Book Bentley Continental Sports Saloon Register
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