65The ex-Alfred H Heineken 1965 Bentley S3 Continental Coupé Coachwork by H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd Registration no. 62916 K (Dubai) Chassis no. BC98LXE Engine no. 49EBC
Bentley's magnificent Continental sports saloon has been synonymous with effortless high speed cruising in the grand manner since its introduction on the R-Type chassis in 1952. With the arrival of the final (S-Type) generation of six-cylinder cars in 1955, the Continental lost a little of its individuality but none of its exclusivity, and this trend continued after the arrival of the V8-engined S2 in 1959. Although the S2 appeared externally unchanged, its performance was considerably enhanced by the new 6,230cc V8 engine. Power-assisted steering was now standard and there was no longer the option of a manual gearbox, Rolls-Royce's own four-speed automatic being the sole offering.
The Bentley Continental was, of course, exclusively a coachbuilt automobile. The firms of H J Mulliner, Park Ward and James Young all offered bodies on the Continental S2 chassis. By far the most striking of these S2 Continentals were those bodied by Rolls-Royce's in-house coachbuilder Park Ward, and this design by Norwegian Vilhelm Koren, with its influential continuous front-to-rear wing line, would continue on the S3 Continental. Quad headlamps were the S3's major styling innovation, and on the H J Mulliner, Park Ward-bodied Continental were contained in slanting nacelles, giving rise to this model's 'Chinese Eye' sobriquet. Headlamps aside, the most significant change was to the S3's engine, which boasted an increased compression ratio and larger carburettors, modifications that raised peak power by some 7%.
Left-hand drive chassis 'BC98LXE' is one of a mere 75 S3 Continentals bodied by H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd after the two firms' merger. Factory chassis records show that the car was supplied new in December 1965 to Alfred H Heineken (of the Dutch brewing dynasty) through local agent, Grund and Co. The original order lists a number of special features, including door compartments and recesses to take two flasks, three glasses, bottle opener, ice thermos flask and a mineral water bottle, as well as under-dash refrigerated units. Electrically operated front seats and a power-operated hood were specified also.
Mr Heineken retained the car for more than 35 years and often chose it to use in the South of France on holiday. Upon Heineken's death, his collection including the S3 was sold at auction in 2003, the present owner acquiring the Bentley a couple of years later. Finished in dark green with tan leather upholstery, the Continental presents well; the body is straight with good panel fit and shut lines while both paintwork and brightwork are in very good order, as is the interior. The S3 was driven for the recent photo-shoot and the hood electrics were fully operational. Air-conditioning is fitted and the car comes with Dubai registration and MoT to 2011.
An excellent and commodious all weather touring car, this S3 Continental represents the opportunity to acquire one of very few that has remained in long-term single ownership from new until relatively recently.