Bentley R-Type Countryman
Guy Harold Radford was a Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealer with showrooms in West London. His firm, Harold Radford & Co., Ltd., had prospered during the war, converting vehicles for use by the armed forces. After the end of hostilities, he reasoned that a stylish shooting brake could be constructed on the Mark VI Bentley Standard Steel saloon. Using wood panelling on the lower reaches and a contoured steel roof, the result was indeed handsome. He named it “Countryman,” and one car was awarded first prize at the 1948 Concours d’Elegance at Cannes. The work was actually done by a small North London firm called Seary & McReady; after Radford purchased a majority holding of shares, it was renamed Harold Radford (Coachbuilders) Ltd.
Radford then redesigned his Countryman concept. Gone were the wood panelling and lowering tailgate. Instead, Radford converted the standard saloon into a form of hatchback, with a lift gate and tailgate in the original body contour. The rear seats could be folded forward for greater carrying capacity, and the purchaser could specify reclining front seats as well. There were picnic tables on the back of the front seats, and a full picnic set could be furnished, built into the tailgate.
Rolls-Royce, Ltd. designated Harold Radford as an official coachbuilder. In 1958, however, the company was acquired by the Swain Group, owners of rival Rolls-Royce agency H.R. Owen. Mr. Radford stayed on until 1963, by which time the firm had embarked on upscale conversion of Minis.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2010 at the Battersea Evolution, London.
130 bhp, 4,566 cc inlet-over-exhaust six-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic gearbox, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and servo-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 120"
Source: RM Auctions