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Lot 411: Bentley S3 Saloon

Rolls-Royce, Bentley Motor Cars and Automobilia, Bonhams (19 June 2010)

Launched in 1962, the Bentley S3 and its Rolls-Royce equivalent, the Silver Cloud III, employed the 6.2-litre V8 engine introduced on the Silver Cloud II/Bentley S2, though with larger carburettors, a new distributor and raised compression ratio. Facing increasing competition from faster rivals and with development of its ageing six-cylinder engine nearing its end, Rolls-Royce had turned to V8 power as the 1960s approached. The V8 was, of course, the predominant power unit in Rolls-Royce's most important export market - the USA - so it was only natural that the Crewe firm would study the best American designs - principally those of Chrysler and Cadillac - for inspiration. Introduced in the autumn of 1959, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2 appeared externally unchanged from their 'Cloud and S-Type predecessors, though the duo's performance was considerably enhanced by the new 6,230cc aluminium-alloy V8 engine. Although wider and shorter than the 'six' it replaced, the new power unit fitted relatively easily within the engine bay, relocation of the steering box from inside to outside of the chassis frame being the most obvious alteration to the previous arrangements. Externally the new models appeared virtually unchanged, while beneath the skin Rolls-Royce's own four-speed automatic transmission was now the only one on offer and power steering had been standardised. Most obvious among the many S3/Cloud III changes were the adoption of a four-headlamp lighting arrangement, the absence of sidelights from the wing tops, and a slightly lower radiator shell. Inside there was revised accommodation with separate front seats and increased room for rear passengers. The last mainstream Bentley to employ a separate chassis, the S3 remained in production until superseded by the unitary construction T-Series in late 1965. This late Bentley S3 was sold new in Scotland before being exported to Australia and displayed in Tasmania's Hobart Museum for four years. In 1998 the car was purchased by Austin Meredith, an ex-Rolls-Royce engineer, and in 2005 was brought back to the UK where its original registration was reallocated. Since returning home the Bentley has benefited from an engine rebuild carried out by Britannia Motors (in 2007) while the automatic transmission has been fettled by a specialist in the field. Used for weddings and displayed at various concours events, 'BSR 519C' is described as in generally excellent condition and offered with RREC factory/sales records, sundry invoices, current MoT and Swansea V5.

Lot Details
Auction Rolls-Royce, Bentley Motor Cars and Automobilia
Bonhams, Rockingham Castle, Northamptonshire
Lot Number411
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£19500
Hammer Price (inc premium)£22425
Condition rating0
Registration numberBSR 519C
Chassis numberB152GJ
Engine numberBGJ76
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors4