Cars

Proof You Can Teach An Old Bentley New Tricks

Published On 10/07/2014 Published On 10/07/2014

The gorgeous Bentley 1954 R-Type La Sarthe is entirely the design of Britain's Bensport Ltd. The body's completely new, and is built on top of a legit Bentley R-Type Continental chassis, so in many respects it's very much an old classic Bentley. Clearly, it's a work of art.

Bentley, of course, has a storied history at Le Mans, but took a hiatus that included the 1950s. Bensport penned the La Sarthe (as in Circuit De La Sarthe in France, home to the 24 Hours of Le Mans) as an exercise to see what a mid-century Bentley race car would've looked like. The body is nothing but hand-formed aluminum, formed to its own design.

As such, it's a fastback coupe with two different gas caps, which was the style of race cars of the day. Under the custom skin, it's an original chassis that's been modified both for handling and reliability purposes; and while they're re-assembling everything, they also toss in conveniences like power steering and rear parking sensors to make sure you don't hurt that beautiful bodywork.

Inside it's a sea of leather, wood, and aluminum. Modernities like heated seats and rear windows, central locking, and air conditioning make the La Sarthe less of a museum piece and more of a car you'll be compelled to drive every day.

There's nothing on the interior you can't have completely customized, though it's kind of hard to argue with the time-tested notion of throwing leather everywhere.

The instrument panel's actually all new, so you'll have an accurate gauge on what's going on with the old Bentley engine. It's thoroughly rebuilt and can be souped up to whatever levels you so desire.

Lastly: race car or not, it wouldn't be a proper Bentley without a beautiful space for your luggage...so obviously it will even build matching luggage for the car.


Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor, and can be found on Twitter. He believes that every coupe made should have the option of a luggage shelf in back.

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