Lot 179

London 2016

1961 Bentley S2 Continental Sports Saloon by H.J. Mulliner


£173,600 GBP | Sold

United Kingdom | London, United Kingdom



Chassis No.
Engine No.
Body No.
Dutch Kentekenbewijs
  • A wonderful, well-preserved original S2 Continental
  • One of only 388 Mulliner Sport Saloons made
  • Superb original colour scheme
  • Documented early ownership and maintenance history

178 hp, 6,230 cc OHV V-8 engine with twin SU carburettors, four-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs and wishbones, semi-elliptical rear springs with electrically controlled shock absorbers, power-assisted front and rear drum brakes, and hydraulic front and hydro-mechanical rear. Wheelbase: 3,125 mm

A cousin of the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II, the Bentley S2 debuted in September 1959, carrying an all-new, powerful aluminium overhead-valve V-8 engine. While Rolls-Royce, Bentley’s parent firm, had long disdained the publication of horsepower ratings, the new V-8 was estimated to produce about 178 horsepower and, due to lower weight, made both the Silver Cloud II and S2 faster and quicker than their immediate predecessors. Remarkably, this basic V-8 engine design would continue in use for nearly 40 years, until the 1998 introduction of the Arnage. The S2 also introduced standard power-assisted steering and featured a GM/Hydra-Matic four-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment; a manual gearbox was no longer available.

As before, a Continental variant was offered, with higher compression for better performance, a shorter radiator profile, upgraded braking, a higher rear axle ratio, and custom coachwork produced in limited series by Park Ward, H.J. Mulliner, and James Young. Total S2 Continental production was limited to a mere 2,308 cars, of which 388 were the two-door Sports Saloon by Mulliner.

The car offered here, chassis BC49BY, is accompanied by wonderful documentation, including a copy of the original purchase order placed to Berkeley Square agent Jack Barclay by F&A Parkinson Ltd., an electrical engineer and manufacturing firm in Guiseley, Leeds, for their principal, Albert Parkinson. Succeeding Mr Parkinson’s previous Continental, the car was finished to match in two-tone Nile Green over Sage Green with red leather interior and equipped with power windows and radio aerial, as well as Richmond-type safety harnesses for the front seats.

Records indicate that the Bentley was delivered in February 1961 and remained with Mr Parkinson for exactly six years, at which point it was sold back to the Jack Barclay agency. The second known owner, A.C.G. Billam of South Croydon, Surrey, acquired the car from Paddon Brothers in 1977, and it was maintained in their ownership for several years.

Today, this wonderful Continental remains largely original and beautifully preserved, including a remarkable original leather interior with only minimal cracking and wonderful suppleness, and spectacular original woodwork that presents as fine furniture. The pinstripes of the body were relined in the 1970s, but the balance of the paintwork is believed to be the well-preserved original finishes from 1961. Both the original chassis and body plates are still present in their expected locations, as are the original Mulliner sill plates. The engine compartment and chassis have been well looked after and are thoroughly detailed, and in a recent road test, the car was reported to drive and handle extremely well, with the solid feel that can only be found in a well-maintained original Continental.

Gentlemen enthusiasts adore the S-Series Continentals today as much as when they were new, for their wonderful “magic carpet” road feel, able to devour long distances in single bounds with great comfort and adequate power. Many surviving examples have been restored, and while those are beautiful and desirable, there is a special aura about an example that has never required nor received a restoration effort. This is one such car, and it deserves a new caretaker who will drive and enjoy it in the manner for which it was intended. Next stop: the Riviera!