Introduced in the autumn of 1959 and described as ‘arguably the best looking’ by Martin Bennett’ in his book ‘Bentley Continental’, the S2 version typically cost some 40% more than the equivalent standard steel saloon and was definitely the preserve of a privileged few. The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2 appeared externally unchanged from their Silver Cloud and S-Type predecessors, though their performance was considerably enhanced by the new 6,230cc aluminium-alloy engine producing approximately 25% more power than the old six. It offered high-speed travel in silence and luxury. The Continental version steered away from its often-standard steel sister and was usually coachbuilt. The firms of H. J. Mulliner, Park Ward, James Young and Hooper all offered handcrafted bodies on the Continental S2 chassis. Of the 388 S2 Continentals made, just 125 came draped with bodies from the Willesden firm and, with such illustrious heritage going right back to the early days of W. O. Bentley and his engineering company in nearby Cricklewood, they could often be found on the Côte d’Azur and St. Moritz.
This example sports an early example of Park Ward’s influential ‘straight-through wing’ body style and proved popular; it offered a feeling of speed and elegance. Importantly a rare factory drophead model, it was initially sold into stock at R. S. Mead Ltd. of Maidenhead before selling to a Mr. Ferranti on North Wales with a registration of 95 DXY in April, 1962. The S2 came with electrically operated windows, a power operated hood and hood cover, Dunlop Roadspeed tubeless tyres and luggage straps. It is worth noting that it also came with a heavy-gauge frame, UR 4743. In 1965, the car passed to a Mr. Fattorini of Ilkley, Yorkshire.
By 1990 the Bentley was purchased by Mr. Eddie Shah. Famous for a number of media empires and for a diverse portfolio of interests, Eddie Shah caught the public eye when he ‘left’ the Manchester Evening News and launched the Today newspaper and Messenger Newspaper Group. He quickly found his footing and soon, with a few more titles under his belt, rocked the political establishment by using anti-trade union laws introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s governments to defeat the print unions. The unions were hog-tying British industry and Eddie Shah, to his credit, bought them to the negotiating table.
Upon purchasing the S2, Mr. Shah invested just over £12,000 in improving his new purchase, before the Bentley passed to a Mr. Caldwell in 1994, and then to a Mr. Kent 2003. Mr. Kent then rebuilt the rear springs, replaced the main shaft and renovated the driver’s seat to the tune of nearly £4,000. In 2017 and in new ownership the S2 has enjoyed much attention, notably (at a cost of £5500) a new power steering ram, fuel pump, rear shock absorbers, washer pump, tyres and battery. Additionally the Bentley saw some remedial work to the sill and floor areas, thorough waxoiling, various adjustments to the windows and doors, lights and electrical system. Further works by Gordon Dale of Brentford in 2017 included a service and overhaul of the braking system (to the tune of £4900).
Supplied with a copy of the original build sheet and older V5 registration documents, current and older MoT certificates, and copies of various invoices for works completed over the years, all in all this is a fantastic proposition, with much work already completed and ready to loved and enjoyed by its next owner.