Lot 254

London 2023

1958 Bentley S1 Continental Drophead Coupé by Park Ward

Offered Directly from 22 Years of Ownership by Jay Kay

{{lr.item.text}}

Sold After Auction

United Kingdom Flag | Chobham, United Kingdom

{{internetCurrentBid}}

{{internetTimeLeft}}


language
Chassis No.
BC40EL
Engine No.
BC39E
Documents
UK V5
  • Offered directly from 22 years of ownership by Jay Kay, frontman of Jamiroquai
  • Featured in the Jamiroquai music video Love Foolosophy alongside Jay Kay and Heidi Klum
  • Exceptionally well-preserved early 1990s restoration by UK-based specialists
  • Odometer indicating less than 40,000 miles, believed to be original
  • One of only 94 S1 Drophead Coupés produced, one of 55 examples built to RHD specifications
Please note if this vehicle is exported outside of the UK an export license will be required.

In the early 1960s, Bentley’s parent company Rolls-Royce ran an advertisement that bragged: “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”. While the car featured in the advertisement was a Silver Cloud, the ad was careful to state that Bentleys were also made by Rolls-Royce, and the claim certainly rang true for the sister company.

If the engine was surpassed only in noise by the clock, surely the only other noise that would come close to that would be music on its radio. The genre of music this particular Bentley would eventually become famed for, however, was still decades away—both acoustically and chronologically…

Chassis number BC40EL, a S1 Continental Drophead Coupé with Park Ward Coachwork, was first registered to Mather & Crowther Ltd at the company’s business address at Brettenham House in London, just next to Waterloo Bridge. Specified for the personal use of E.L. Mather, the car was accordingly registered ELM 9 when new. Finished in Tudor Grey over a Green interior with a pale green convertible top, it was delivered to Mather & Crowther on 28 May 1958.

An advertising agency founded by Edmund Charles Mather in 1850, it was known as Mather & Crowther through the later part of the 1880s until 1948, when it merged to become Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather. In 1959, Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather took on Rolls-Royce as a client, one year after this BC40EL was delivered, resulting in the company’s famous aforementioned ad. Perhaps this very car played a role in inspiring that iconic advertisement.

Little is known of the car in the succeeding years. A document from HM Customs and Excise dated May 1990 shows that the car was imported back into the UK to P.J. Fisher, a well-known Bentley specialist based in Putney, London, still bearing the registration number ELM 9. Less than a year later, the car was acquired by Alan Prince, a private collector and member of the Bentley Drivers Club, who immediately commissioned a restoration with the Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist Auto Trade Restoration of Kensal Green, London.

Stripped to bare metal, the interior was fully retrimmed in grey leather, all chrome trim was refinished, and the bodywork was fully repainted in its present dark blue, with the power-operated convertible top retrimmed in dark blue to match. All mechanical components were attended to as well, including a complete rebuild of both the engine and gearbox. Following the completion of the restoration in October of 1992, the Bentley was road registered. Although efforts were made to return it to its original registration of ELM 9, this was not possible, and the car’s present registration of GVS 864 was assigned. The car was well-looked after in Mr Prince’s ownership, and it would enter a fascinating stage of its life with an enthusiastic new owner at the dawn of the 21st Century, just over 40 years after leaving the factory.

By the late 1990s, Jamiroquai had risen to international stardom and were ranked as the third best-selling British artist of the decade, following the Spice Girls and Oasis. With their fifth studio album, A Funk Odyssey, set to be released to critical acclaim and commercial success in September of 2001, frontman Jay Kay could finally indulge in his life’s second passion: cars.

Looking to purchase a Bentley in late 2000, Jay Kay was faced with the decision between purchasing this car or a "modern" Continental. For him, the decision was easy after experiencing both. Drawn to this car’s inherent charm and attractive colours, Kay purchased chassis BC40EL in January of 2001 through the renowned Bentley and Rolls-Royce specialist P&A Wood in Essex. This would become one of the first vehicles in his now-renowned collection, and has been one of the longest lasting.

Maintained by P&A Wood throughout 2001 as Jay Kay sought to have the Bentley in perfect running order, he put approximately 2,000 miles on the car during his first year of ownership. The Bentley would intersect with Jay Kay’s personal and professional life in 2002, when it was decided that the car would feature in the music video for Love Foolosophy, Jamiroquai’s third single from A Funk Odyssey.

Jay Kay’s friend and supermodel Heidi Klum had expressed interest in appearing in one of Jamiroquai’s music videos and in Kay’s opinion, his S1 Continental Drophead Coupé was the perfect complement to her beauty and charisma in the Love Foolosophy music video. The car was shipped to Marbella, Spain, to be used for the shoot, appearing prominently in the first third of the video, where Kay drives Klum (lounging gracefully across the rear bench seat) and an Afghan Hound (riding shotgun next to Kay) as they travel to a party across a picturesque mountain road.

Remaining a cornerstone piece in Kay’s collection following its 15 minutes of fame in the Love Foolosophy music video, the Bentley has been very well looked after ever since. Its extensive history file includes numerous MoTs and service invoices from Kay’s ownership, with less than 5,000 miles covered since the video. Since the completion of the car’s restoration in the early 1990s, it has been driven less than 16,000 miles, with just under 7,000 miles being accumulated during Jay Kay’s ownership. Although it cannot be verified at this time, the car’s present odometer reading of approximately 40,000 miles is thought to be original, supported by numerous MoT certificates dating back to 1993.

Undoubtedly one of the most fascinating S1 Continental Drophead Coupés to be offered in recent memory, it was only natural that these fantastic automobiles found their way into interesting homes when new, but few have found such fascinating owners since their heyday. Keenly aware that automobiles are at their best when exercised regularly, Jay Kay does his utmost to ensure that his cars are frequently enjoyed on the open road, and this car is no exception to that rule. It is a car that could easily be driven on a regular basis or across to continental Europe without hesitation.

If this Bentley could satisfy a supermodel, a pure-bred Afghan Hound, and its rockstar owner for over two decades, it will have no problems living up to the expectations of its fortunate next custodian.