1957 Bentley S1 Continental Fastback  Chassis no. BC21BG Engine no. BC20B

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Lot 259
1957 Bentley S1 Continental Fastback
Chassis no. BC21BG Engine no. BC20B

€ 115,000 - 145,000
US$ 120,000 - 150,000
Amended
1957 Bentley S1 Continental Fastback
Coachwork by H. J. Mulliner

Chassis no. BC21BG
Engine no. BC20B
The original Bentley Continental 'R' set a new standard for automotive excellence. It was the first four-seat production car in history to be capable of 120 mph, and that with the luxury synonymous with the marque, while Mulliner's fast-back two-door coupé body instantly became iconic. When Ian Fleming wrote his first novels he gave James Bond a Bentley Continental which, at the time, was the world's most expensive car and perhaps also the world's most desired.

In 1955 Bentley introduced the 'S' series with a new chassis and slightly enlarged engine. Demand continued for the Continental and 100 examples of the S1 Continental were made, this car being the 21st of the series.

At the time, Bentley did not release power figures and would merely say that the power was 'adequate'. That was true, power was sufficiently adequate to make the S1 Continental the most effortless high speed car of its day. The Autocar magazine said that it offered "a degree of safety, comfort and performance that is beyond the experience and perhaps the imagination of the world's motorists - a modern magic carpet."

The S1 Continental not only had outstanding performance, it had every possible luxury to cosset its fortunate owner including automatic transmission, whilst power-assisted steering and air conditioning were options. The engine was offered in two states of tune (good quality fuel was not always available in every market) and the car we offer has the higher specification with large-bore carburettors and a compression ratio of 8:1.

This outstanding example of a great car has an interesting specification and a well documented history. It is one of just two such Continentals factory supplied with air conditioning, and the only one with a uniquely sculpted rear wing line. It has also effectively had just three owners from new. The first (British) owner took delivery in 1957 and kept the car until 1973, at which point it had covered 57,722 miles which, by Bentley standards, meant it was just nicely run in. The second owner took the mileage to 74,444 and then had it restored, 1988-90, by Wildae Restorations (Devon, UK) at a cost of £51,000. From 1991 to 1995 it was exhibited in the Museum of MPW Special Coachwork in Tokyo, a fact which says everything about this car's stature, before returning to Europe and passing, via renowned connoisseur and dealer Terry Cohn, to the present Italian owner.

This fabulous Italian registered machine, finished in silver over blue with a light tan interior, has a large history file and comes with such desirable touches as the original tool kit. Though Mulliner made 100 examples of the fastback body for the S1 Continental, this example must surely be one of the best. It has been always been given the care and attention appropriate to a car of this pedigree and the vendor describes its condition as 'very good' throughout.

La Bentley Continental "R" originale a élevé le niveau d'excellence automobile. C'était la toute première voiture quatre places de série à atteindre les 120 mph, tout en offrant le luxe cher à la marque. Quand Ian Fleming écrivit ses premiers romans, il dota James Bond d'une Bentley Continental qui, à l'époque, était la voiture la plus chère et peut-être la plus recherchée du monde.

En 1955, Bentley lance la série "S", équipée d'un nouveau châssis et d'un moteur légèrement plus puissant. La demande continua d'augmenter et 100 exemplaires de la S1 Continental furent fabriqués, celui proposé ici étant le 21e de la série.

La S1 Continental offrait non seulement des performances d'exception, mais aussi tout le luxe nécessaire au confort de son heureux propriétaire: boîte automatique, direction assistée et climatisation.

Ce splendide exemplaire possède des spécifications intéressantes et un passé très bien documenté. Il est l'un des deux modèles de Continental équipés de la climatisation et le seul à avoir des ailes arrières sculptées. Il n'a également eu que trois propriétaires depuis sa sortie d'usine. Le premier, un britannique, l'a reçu en 1957 et l'a gardé jusqu'en 1973. La voiture avait alors parcouru 57'722 miles, ce qui, pour une Bentley, signifie qu'elle est juste rodée. Le deuxième propriétaire portera le kilométrage à 74'444, puis la fera restaurer en 1988-90 chez Wildae Restorations (Devon, Royaume-Uni) pour un montant de £51'000. De 1991 à 1995, elle sera ensuite exposée au Museum MPW of Special Coachwork de Tokyo, ce qui en dit long sur l'importance de cette voiture, avant de revenir en Europe et de passer, par l'intermédiaire de l'agent et connaisseur Terry Cohn, aux mains du propriétaire italien actuel.

Avec sa carrosserie argent sur bleu et intérieur beige clair, cette fabuleuse machine immatriculée en Italie a un passé très documenté. Bien que Mulliner ait fabriqué 100 exemplaires de la carrosserie ‘fastback’ de la S1 Continental, celle-ci est, à n'en pas douter, l'une des meilleures. Elle a toujours reçu les soins et l'attention qu'exige une telle voiture et le vendeur décrit son état général comme étant «très bon».

Footnotes

  • Avec sa carrosserie argent sur bleu et intérieur beige clair, cette fabuleuse machine immatriculée en Italie a un passé très documenté. Bien que Mulliner ait fabriqué 100 exemplaires de la carrosserie ‘fastback’ de la S1 Continental, celle-ci est, à n'en pas douter, l'une des meilleures. Elle a toujours reçu les soins et l'attention qu'exige une telle voiture et le vendeur décrit son état général comme étant «très bon».

Saleroom notices

  • The car was driven to the sale from central Italy and performed faultlessly.
Auction information

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† Vat at 20% on hammer price and buyer's premium if the car remains in the EU.

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