A modern magic carpet

1954 Bentley R-Type Continental fastback sports saloon owned by the founder of Wally Yachts to be auctioned


Described as a “modern magic carpet” in its auction entry, a 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental fastback saloon by H. J. Mulliner from the personal collection of the Wally Yachts founder Luca Bassani Antivari is to be offered for sale on 14th May in Monaco.


A modern magic carpet – The 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental fastback sports saloon on offer
The interior of the vehicle includes green leather upholstery
The car is currently owned by Luca Bassani Antivari


Originally owned by a steamship executive named William A. Headlam of Raithwaite Hall in Whitby, Yorkshire, the car was ordered with custom options such as a divided front bench seat and a steering wheel set an extra 2.5 inches to the right. It is reported to have cost in the region of $18,000 new (the equivalent of $159,000, £111,000 or €140,000 today) and by the 1970s, its then owner, noting how expensive it was to run amusingly declared in a letter (that comes with the car): “At the end of December, I am taking one of my cherished R-Type Bentleys off the road and sinking to the depths of depravity by purchasing a little Japanese Datsun, a pair of extra-large dark glasses, and a high-coloured coat so that I cannot be recognised”.


Owned by Mr Bassani Antivari since 1993 and maintained by Chelsea Workshops in the time since, the velvet green over green upholstery car is reported to have been the yacht builder’s “prized possession”. Of it, he remarked:


“Since I was a young boy, I had dreamed of owning an R-Type Continental and becoming a member of the Bentley Boys group; it has always been, for me, the only classic car that could be used comfortably by its owner. Late in the 1980s, I began to look for one and had the opportunity to see and touch a dozen examples. In the end, I realized that UTU 3 was the nicest one because of her shape and lines that had been so perfectly drawn and built”.


“The delivery in St Tropez of my R-Type had a real James Bond touch. I landed in my helicopter, close to a lorry that, immediately after our landing, opened, with my Continental sliding out from its back. I and my friend immediately jumped in the magnificent car to go directly to the Club 55, where I was welcomed more than ever! In St Tropez, when the road to the harbour was closed to traffic, I never had any problem being allowed to pass in my Bentley. The same has been true in Monte Carlo; when UTU 3 is arriving, there is a kind of race between the valet guys to park her, and in the best position possible”.


“UTU 3 is a queen of the road, a status that she will always retain”.


RM Sotheby’s have set an estimate of £593,000 to £752,000 ($854,000 to $1.08 million or €750,000 to €950,000) for the car.


Update: 15th May 2016: Not sold.



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    View Comments

    • Of the two hundred and sixteen built; two hundred and fourteen still exist - apparently

    • Oh, and my marvelous Oncologist, who keeps me alive, drives one of these beautiful creations

      • Mick....don't be lazy. Look it up.
        My other point is that the Saudi runt must never be allowed to buy this work of art. In minutes he would cover it in gold leaf. Ghastly tasteless people.

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