1953 Bentley R-Type Saloon by James Young
Registration Number: 229 XVB Chassis No.# B372SR
Incredibly, this remarkable 1954 R-Type has only covered a warranted 18,756 miles from new. Bodied by Kent-based coachbuilders, James Young and Co, it was optioned with a manual gearbox and supplied through G H Poole & Sons Ltd. of Jersey to its first owner, a Mrs Tottie Cooper of La Haute, Jersey. It was to remain in the Cooper family until sold by her granddaughter in 2018 to its next owner who returned the car to the UK and registered it as 229 XVB. With the car, there is a ‘buff’ logbook showing that it was taxed and in use up until 1966 when it appears to have been dry-stored for the rest of its life on Jersey.
Although well maintained whilst in regular use, after over 50 years in storage the Bentley needed to be extensively recommissioned. Its new owner has described the process;
“On initial inspection I found the engine and clutch to be perfectly free despite circa fifty years off the road, and most of the exhaust system (excluding downpipes) had clearly been replaced shortly before being laid up.
Recommissioning has included replacement of all hoses; overhaul of fuel, ignition, charging and braking systems (the latter requiring new hoses and seals only); changing all fluids and filters; fitting 5 new Avon Turbospeed tyres, new Varta battery; oil pressure gauge re-calibrated; re-chroming bumpers, over-riders; fitting flashing indicator lights (installed on brackets beneath bumpers so as not to interfere with coachwork and wired into existing trafficator switch system).
The interior is totally original and has its original, tailored, heavy-duty over carpet at the front. As far as I can discern, there is no corrosion in the aluminium coachwork and no sign of deterioration in the timber frame (I have treated all exposed timber).”
The car has covered around a thousand miles since this work was carried out and the Mushroom leather, interior trim and Figured Walnut veneers remain in very good order. It has been resprayed in previous years and presents in good sound condition with the Silver over Blue two-tone colour scheme really suiting the flowing lines of the James Young bodywork. The engine bay is tidy and the tool kit appears complete and original, probably not surprising considering the low mileage and low ownership.
We understand that 2,320 R-Type Bentleys were produced of which only 303 sported bespoke coachwork and even fewer by James Young, so this is a rare car. It features in Rodney Steel’s book “The Cars from Crewe” on page 191
Maintained to a high standard, sympathetically refreshed and displaying less than 19,000 miles (low enough to suggest that it may be ‘unique’ but not so low as to deter regular use), this is a splendid opportunity to acquire a piece of R-Type history.