1964 Bentley S3 Continental Coupé Coachwork by H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd Registration no. BC116XC Chassis no. 58CBC
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-Series) 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. Eulogising about Bentley's newly introduced 'S' Series cars, The Autocar had written, 'the latest Bentley model offers a degree of safety, comfort and performance that is beyond the experience and perhaps even the imagination of the majority of the world's motorists.'
Introduced in the autumn of 1959, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2 appeared externally unchanged from their Silver Cloud and S-Type predecessors, though their performance was considerably enhanced by the new 6,230cc aluminium-alloy 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 transmission being the sole offering.
The Bentley Continental was, of course, exclusively a coachbuilt car, the firms of H J Mulliner, Park Ward and James Young all offering bodies on the Continental S2 chassis, which differed from the standard version by virtue of its four-leading-shoe front brakes, shorter radiator and, up to chassis number 'BC99BY', higher gearing. By far the most striking of the 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 Continental S3. 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%.
Chassis 'BC116XC' 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 delivered new in April 1964 via Loxhams Garages Ltd of Preston, Lancashire to one R Baron of Lower Darwen, Lancashire. Its original registration was 'SCB 1'.The card lists a number of special features including electric windows, Marchal foot-operated horn, front-seat safety belts, Hirschmann aerial and interior courtesy lights. Restored at date unknown, the Continental will have been re-commissioned by marque specialists Frank Dale & Stepsons and an MoT certificate obtained in time for the sale. Finished in dark green with cream leather upholstery, the car is offered with (copy) Spanish registration papers and the aforementioned duplicate chassis card. The provision of air conditioning is the only notified deviation from factory specification.