Same family ownership since 1962 1956 Bentley S-Type Saloon Coachwork by Bentley Motors/Harold Radford Registration no. XUW 490 Chassis no. B193CM Engine no. BC346
The car offered here is one of a limited number of Bentley S-Types converted by coachbuilder Harold Radford Ltd. A West London motor dealer specialising in Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars, Harold Radford took the unusual step of setting up as a traditional coachbuilder in the late 1940s, a time when the demand for such products was declining. His first design was for a timber-framed 'Countryman' estate car body on the Bentley MkVI chassis. It was an immediate success, winning the 1948 concours d'elegance at Cannes. Radford exhibited in the coachbuilding section at the London Motor Show from 1951 to 1963, winning numerous awards, and in the 1960s began to reach a wider public with its luxurious Mini conversions. The firm was acquired by H R Owen in the early 1960s.
From being a complete bespoke coachbuilt creation, the Countryman became a conversion of the Rolls-Royce/Bentley standard steel body, frequently incorporating a hatchback rear door. Converted in 1956, the example offered here is somewhat less ambitious, alterations being mainly confined to the provision of fold-flat rear seats and a picnic tray that folds out from the boot lid. The car was purchased new from Harold Radford Ltd by Layford Trading & Shipping. It was then bought by Spillers Ltd for Sir Lacey Vincent in January 1959.
Spillers subsequently traded in the Bentley at Meads of Maidenhead, from whom it was purchased by the lady vendor's father, Air Commodore Bryan D Nicholas, CBE, who kept a meticulous record of all trips undertaken between 1962 and 1966. Meads restored the Bentley in 1972 and again ten years later, and continued to service the car up to 2003, since when it has been maintained by Powerbell Services of Maidenhead. Viewing of the extensive history file, which contains all receipts issued between 1972 and 2012, is strongly recommended. Driving without fault, this delightful Radford-converted Bentley is offered with its original handbook, mileage logbook, a quantity of expired MoT certificates, old-style logbook, Swansea V5C document, current road fund licence and MoT to July 2013.