Cars of 1998
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The Bentley R Continental, #BC21D, received coachwork by Franay (France) and was delivered in February 1955 to a customer with the name Charles Perroud. At that time, an attractively designed sports car with exquisite roadholding was considered to herald the dawn of a new era and fitted seamlessly with the expectations of those who had suffered from an incredibly harsh period. The dreary years of wartime restrictions would be replaced by a promising future. This was true in Great Britain, where many items - including gasoline - were still rationed via coupons, and it was the same in almost all countries on the continent. Against such a background, the Bentley R Continental sparkled "in solitary splendour" as the fastest series-produced sports car in the world.
Bentley had started post-war production with an entirely new model, the Bentley Mark VI, which however strongly did comply with "austerity", as that was determinant for the United Kingdom which still had to deal with enormous deficiencies due to destruction from the time of hostilities. It was not until around 1950 that the idea was tackled seriously of adding to the range a Bentley model with an emphatically sporty design. Planning was focussing on a two-door hatchback coupé, the bodies were to be built by H.J. Mulliner. However, in an almost microscopically small number the carmaker also supplied 'running chassis' to selected coachbuilders. They created bodies to their own designs and had to do so by obeying strict specifications given by the factory, e.g. as regards weight limits.
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The hatchback version by H.J. Mulliner forced to compromise by accepting a relatively limited storage volume for the boot. Franay's creation, on the other hand, had a tail design which permitted a large luggage compartment. .
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