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Lot 187: Bentley S1 Saloon

Fine Motor cars incl. The Jaguar Legend, Coys (14 July 2012)

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.

B12BA was first delivered in June of 1956 registered SXX 333 to a Mr W Allen through Jack Barclay limited and is one of only around twelve aluminium 6-light saloons constructed to this design by H.J.Mulliner. The body is wonderfully proportioned and offers accommodation as comfortable and opulent as one would expect from a coachbuilt Bentley.

As with many Bentleys of the period, at some point B12BA made the journey across the Atlantic where it resided until recently. Since repatriation, the Bentley has been the subject of improvement works to the interior including refinishing of the upholstery, carpet and headlining and a refurbishing of the decorative woodwork. The grey over garnet paintwork is in very nice condition and the tan upholstery with beige carpets are new and as such in pristine order. The bodywork displays characteristically consistent shut lines and the doors shut with a satisfying clunk, including the 'suicide' rear doors.

Mechanically B12BA has been thoroughly checked and serviced and the brakes have been overhauled. The original engine, numbered BB6, is in very good running order and as a result the Bentley starts easily and drives very well and, most importantly, stops with great assurance.

This Bentley is a delightfully refined travelling companion and represents a rarer and better value alternative to a Flying Spur saloon or a more interesting alternative to a standard steel S1. It is anticipated that a UK registration number will have been issued prior to the sale.

Lot Details
Auction Fine Motor cars incl. The Jaguar Legend
Coys, Blenheim Palace,Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PX
Lot Number187
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£45000
Condition rating3
Registration number
Chassis numberB12BA
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors