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The Gstaad Sale / 1955 Bentley S2 Continental Drophead CoupeChassis no. BC74LBY Engine no. B73BC

LOT 133
1955 Bentley S2 Continental Drophead Coupe
3 juillet 2022, 14 h 00 UTC+2
Gstaad, Palace Hotel

Sold for CHF169,625 inc. premium

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1955 Bentley S2 Continental Drophead Coupe
Chassis no. BC74LBY
Engine no. B73BC

• The ultimate in motoring luxury in its day
• One of 63 Park Ward-bodied left-hand drive dropheads
• Delivered new to Switzerland
• Several special features
• Registered in Switzerland


Described by The Autocar as, "A new stage in the evolution of the post-war Bentley," the 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 in 1955 of the final generation of six-cylinder cars, the all-new Silver Cloud and Bentley S-Type, the Continental lost some of its individuality but none of its exclusivity. Dependable though it had proved, Rolls-Royce's six-cylinder engine was nearing the end of its development. At the same time the company was facing increased competition from faster rivals in the vital United States market, and it was, principally, these two factors that prompted the switch to V8 power as the 1960s approached.

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 engine. "The Bentley S2, with its sister Rolls-Royce models, gives high-speed travel in silence and luxury, while the driver and passengers enjoy the sense of well being that only British craftsmanship can give. The V8 engine, with its flashing acceleration, certainly contributes to the result and is a definite step forward in Rolls-Royce technique," enthused Autosport. There were few significant changes to the running gear, though power-assisted steering was now standard and the manual gearbox had been dropped, Rolls-Royce's own four-speed automatic transmission being the sole offering.

The Continental version of the Bentley remained, as ever, exclusively a coachbuilt car. The firms of H J Mulliner, Park Ward, James Young, and Hooper (with a solitary example) all offered 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. Of these four, James Young and Hooper would soon cease coachbuilding, leaving only Rolls-Royce-owned Mulliner and Park Ward to carry on a noble tradition, with Park Ward building the S2 Continental drophead coupes and Mulliner the saloons.

Chassis number 'BC74LBY' is one of only 125 drophead coupes by Park Ward on the S2 Continental chassis, of which 63 were left-hand drive like this example. This Continental's body is built to Norwegian stylist Vilhelm Koren's design number '991', known in factory parlance as the 'Korenental', and has the straight-through wing line that would feature on the later Silver Shadow. The Bentley was built to Swiss specifications and delivered new in March 1961 to its first owner, Mr Hans Grether, care of Garage de l'Athene in Geneva, Switzerland. The car was originally finished in Shell Grey with matching power-operated hood and red leather upholstery. Copy chassis cards on file list Reutter fittings to the front seat, speedometer in kilometres, fog lamps, high frequency horns and the heavy-gauge frame as items of special equipment. Only one subsequent owner is listed: Walter F Bugmann of Zurich (change undated).

As presented today, the Bentley has paintwork in very good overall condition apart from minor damage on the driver's side between the door and rear wheel. The car is offered with a Swiss Carte Grise and the aforementioned chassis card copies.

Saleroom notices

Please note that this car is from 1961 and not 1955 as stated in the printed and online catalogue.

Informations supplémentaires