From Bentley press: The R-Type was the first Bentley to be offered with an automatic transmission. This four-speed auto quickly became the most popular choice: it actually offered a higher top speed than the manual and further increased the civility and refinement of the car.
The most famous and influential R-Type model, however, was the Continental. This two-door, four-seat vehicle, mechanically based on the R-Type saloon, had a body designed by Bentley chief stylist John Blatchley and built by HJ Mulliner. It was a lovely thing: flowing, extravagant bodywork, pronounced haunches, minimal front overhang. Inspired by the one-off pre-war Embiricos Bentley coupe, it became a seminal piece of post-war design. When Bentley Motors’ current design director Dirk van Braeckel sought inspiration for the new Continental GT, it was to the ‘50s R-Type Continental that - more than any other previous Bentley model - he turned. Just 208 were built from 1952 to 1954. With a top speed of 120mph, it was the fastest four-seat car in the world - just as the Continental GT would become 50 years later.