Bentley S1 Continental by Park Ward RH

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S1 Continental by Park Ward RH





A high-performance version S Continental (chassis only) was introduced six months later, lighter weight fixed head and drophead coupé bodies were provided to special order for a premium of about 50% by H. J. Mulliner & Co., Park Ward, James Young and Freestone & Webb. A pre-production 2-seater fixed-head coupé on the new chassis was designed and built for the Bentley factory by Pininfarina. The S-Type's new box-section chassis incorporated improved brakes and suspension and an enlarged (to 4,887cc) and more powerful version of the existing inlet-over-exhaust six-cylinder engine, which for the first time was identical in specification in its Rolls and Bentley forms. The Continental version came with shorter radiator and higher gearing and, for a time at least, could be ordered with right-hand 'change, manual transmission. As had been the case with the original R-Type, the new S-Type Continental was only ever available as a coachbuilt car, the designs produced by independent coachbuilders for the S1 Continental chassis being among the era's most stylish, although arguably none ever improved on H J Mulliner's sublime original.

The Bentley Continental’s aluminum coachwork was aerodynamically designed to slip smoothly through the air, and contrasted greatly with the early postwar Bentley standard steel cars. Though the cars shared an identical chassis and engine, the Continental was fitted with a 2.923 rear axle instead of the standard 3.42, allowing the six-cylinder, 4.9-litre engine to sustain high-speed, long-distance cruising with ease.

Bentley Motors built 431 S1 Continentals, compared to 3,072 standard steel-bodied cars. Of those, just 69 received Park Ward’s revered Design 701 coachwork, a low-profile four-light two-door saloon with strikingly elegant proportions and ample room for four. The S1 Continental, with its remarkable performance and stunning good looks, soon became the Bentley model of choice for those who could afford one. In 1957, the model’s suggested retail price including tax was £7,587 ($11,380).

Sold for: 281500 GBP
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