To many connoisseurs the Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars of the Fifties and early Sixties were the last cars displaying the traditional craftsmanship for which Rolls-Royce had become world-famous. Their separate chassis allowed an uncommon elegance of coachwork design, either by the Crewe factory itself or by independent coachbuilders such as H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward and James Young; the unitary construction of body and chassis of all subsequent models all but ended such a traditional association.
First introduced in 1955, the Bentley S-Type (retrospectively known as the S1) was a larger car than the R-Type that it replaced, which itself was really a late 1940s design from the steel-rationing era. The S1’s power came from an enlarged version of the R-Type’s six cylinder, overhead valve engine. With the capacity enlarged to 4887cc, the new motor propelled the car to 120mph with 0-60 being achieved in under 13 seconds. Early cars were available with manual transmission, however most were fitted with a four-speed automatic gearbox, and (from 1956) power steering. The beautiful shape of the S1 used the car’s length to its full advantage, with the interior featuring all of the usual appointments expected in a Rolls Royce or Bentley of the period.
H.J Mulliner in Chiswick London, built tailor made bodies for Bentleys and Rolls-Royce, and in fact had done so for many years into the pre-war period. One of the most successful achievements of the late 1950’s coach-built era was the conversion of standard steel saloons into drop head coupes. Only two Bentley S1 drophead conversions were ever produced on the order of Rolls-Royce Ltd as prototype to production and were both completed by H.J. Mulliner, one LHD and one RHD, making them the most sought after standard steel adaptations in existence. RR Motors then commissioned Park-Ward to continue production on the S2 and S3 chassis for both RR and Bentley cars.
The S1 production run began in April 1955 with the AN series and as such, by the time this FA series example was released in 57’, many improvements had been made. These high compression six cylinder engines are considered by connoisseurs to be the high point of Bentley engineering of the post war period, making this later example ever more sought after. This Conversion presents a unique opportunity to acquire such a model at a much lower price considering the cost to accomplish this.
Provided today with an outstanding 1st class condition full Dekra inspection report, this wonderful S1 DHC was purchased around ten years ago for the purpose of restoration. It was first enjoyed for a number of years in its unrestored form up until l 2014 when a two year no-expense-spared nut and bolt restoration began.
It is said that every piece on this car has either been overhauled or replaced and is now described by the vendor to be in excellent condition throughout. #B134FA has also benefitted from a completely galvanised and repainted frame, and furthermore the brake systems were completely overhauled as was the powertrain.
This is a rare opportunity to purchase a car that is being offered here today, at a fraction of the price that has been spent on its restoration.