Lot 351

Cliveden House

1956 Bentley S1 Saloon by James Young

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£140,000 - £180,000 GBP 

United Kingdom | Taplow, Berkshire, United Kingdom

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Chassis No.
B456AN
Engine No.
BA228
To be offered on Wednesday, 12 June 2024
  • One of 26 examples of the B10-style aluminium body built by James Young
  • Commissioned by Charles Purley, founder of the Longford Engineering Company—now a household name as LEC Refrigeration
  • Prize-winner at Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club and Bentley Drivers Club concours events in 2022 and 2023
  • Restored by marque specialists Phantom Motor Cars Ltd from 2016 to 2021, with labour exceeding 2,200 hours and totalling more than £300,000
  • Complemented by a history file that includes copies of the build sheets, ownership history, restoration photographs, and invoices

Ordered on 16 May 1955 via the Southampton-based Bentley agent, Wadham Bros Ltd, this Bentley was commissioned by Charles Purley, co-founder of the Longford Engineering Company—better known today as LEC Refrigeration. Mr Purley was one of the 26 customers who opted for the all-aluminium B10-style saloon built by James Young, which weighed 150 kilograms less than a steel-bodied example. In February 1956, Purley took delivery of chassis B456AN, and registered it with the number plate “UPO 1”. A family of car enthusiasts, Purley’s son, David, went on to race in Formula 1 in the early 1970s.

On 21 May 1958, the car was noted as being owned by Moore & Porter as “salvage”. It had suffered a front-end accident, and was then repaired in June at the Rolls-Royce repair facility on Hythe Road, London. Following the repair the guarantee was reinstated and the car was sold to the second owner, Mr Cruddas of Croydon, Surrey. Chassis B456AN was issued with a new registration number, “1981BP”, and remained with Cruddas until 6 June 1978, when it was registered by Mr Joseph Henry Sparkes of Sticklepath, Devon.

Sparkes drove the Bentley continuously until 1985, after which point it was placed in storage. Following his death in 1996, the car was sold at auction to the fifth owner—Dennis Udy RN OBE—in August 1997, having traded hands via three dealers earlier that year. Commander Udy managed to reinstate the original “UPO 1” registration number, with MoT certificates indicating that he drove the car for approximately one year. With many projects and ailing health, he was unable to find the time to restore the Bentley. He subsequently sold the car to his long-standing friend—the consigning owner.

With a passion for restoring cars, the current owner commissioned Phantom Motor Cars Ltd and other specialist experts: West Country Trimmers, Derby Plating and Graham Whitehouse Autos Ltd, to contribute to its restoration. From 2016 to 2021, the Bentley was completely stripped back to bare metal, with close inspection paid to the area from the incident in 1958. The front wing showed signs of rippling near the scuttle and there was a small repair near the windscreen. The chassis was not found to be damaged.

The restoration is verified by reams of invoices. During the process, chassis B456AN was repainted in an elegant shade of Oxford Green, further complemented by the factory-correct Champagne Connolly Vaumol leather upholstery. The entire drivetrain and suspension were stripped and rebuilt leading to a completion date in July 2021. The total cost of the restoration exceeded £300,000 and the numerous photographs highlight the quality and time spent to make sure the car was finished to a very high standard.

After a period of fine-tuning, the first major outing was to the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace on 5 September 2021, where it took 3rd place out of 41 Bentleys taking part on the Bentley Owners Club exhibition day. In 2022, it was awarded 1st-in-class and 2nd overall at the Bentley Drivers Club (BDC) Summer Concours, held on 19 June 2022. This success was repeated in 2023 with the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club Concours at Burghley House on 25 June, with a 2nd place and then a win in the BDC Summer Concours Masterclass at Kelmarsh Hall on 9 July.

The enthusiastic owner, who has other projects, has decided to part company with this special Bentley S1 Sports Saloon by James Young after bringing it to fruition. For any post-war Bentley enthusiast, this splendid example is ideal for those looking to tour and exhibit.