Rare Bentley ordered by 007 author Ian Fleming up for auction
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Fleming ordered car in 1953 for spy and lifelong friend Ivar Bryce
A rare Bentley ordered by James Bond author Ian Fleming is set to fetch more than $1.7m after being discovered gathering dust in a Hollywood garage.
The R-Type Continental Fastback, which was the world's fastest four-seat car when it went on sale in 1952, had been in the lock-up for more than 30 years when it was discovered.
Fleming ordered this 1953 model for lifelong friend Ivar Bryce, a spy who worked with for the British Security Coordination during World War Two.
The Bentley - boasting a top speed of 120mph - was one of the most expensive cars in the world when it went on sale.
Originally 'elephant breath grey', as Fleming and Bryce called it, the R-Type Continental Fastback was one of just 11 left-hand drive manual models ever made.
It came with Connolly leather seats and a medium wave radio with the bodywork carried out by HJ Mulliner.
Fleming handled the sale on Bryce's behalf and it was delivered new on April 22, 1953.
The pair had become best friends after meeting on a Cornish beach as schoolboys with both later attending Eton.
Fleming makes a number of references to Bryce in his books and the CIA agent's name came from Bryce's middle-name, Felix.
Diamonds are Forever was co-dedicated to the wealthy Englishman.
And despite his long association with Aston Martin, in the novels James Bond originally drove Bentleys.
His first model was a supercharged Bentley Blower, while his third - as driven in Thunderball - was similar to Bryce's Continental, and even the same grey colour.
In its 62-year lifetime, the Bentley has been from England to Europe and back, then cross the Atlantic to North America, where it moved between the Bahamas, New York, New England, and San Francisco.
However, time hasn't been kind to the Bentley. The car has not been seen publicly since 1971 and has spent the past 30 years gathering dust in a Hollywood garage in Los Angeles.
It was recently discovered with ripped seats, a tired body work and will need to be restored. At some stage it has been repainted white.
Despite this, its provenance and rarity has led it to be described as one of the 'most exciting Bentley discoveries of all time'.
The car - chassis number BC10LB - will be sold by Gooding & Co at its Pebble Beach sale in California in August and is expected to sell for £1.15 million ($1.77m).
David Gooding, president of the auction house, said: 'BC10LB is one of the most significant Bentley discoveries in recent memory.
'This particular R-Type is truly a remarkable time-capsule of the marque's quintessential postwar model and the connection to Ian Fleming will have collectors and enthusiasts jumping at the chance to include this historical timepiece to their collection.'
- Daily Mail