Monterey | Lot 233
1959 Bentley S1 Continental 'Flying Spur' Sports Saloon by H.J. Mulliner
$296,500 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
25 August 2018
- Offered from a significant private collection
- Exquisite restoration by marque specialists P&A Wood
- One of 54 examples of this iconic design
- Arguably the most beautiful post-war Bentley saloon
The Bentley S1 Continental contrasted strongly with the company’s “Standard Steel” cars of the late 1950s. Whilst the Continental shared an identical chassis and engine to the standard S1, it boasted a 2.923 rear axle, which allowed for the 4,887-cc six-cylinder engine, with its 8.0:1 compression ratio, to propel the car to sustained high-speed, long-distance cruising with incredible ease. Autocar magazine recorded an elapsed time of 18.8 seconds at 120.5 mph in the quarter-mile, which was much faster than the Standard Steel Saloon’s 19.7 seconds at 101 mph.
Adding to the Continental’s appeal was the broad selection of attractive coachwork available for it. Amongst the most elegant and noteworthy was H.J. Mulliner’s Sports Saloon, a smooth, flowing close-coupled design affectionately known as the “Flying Spur” after the heraldic device of one of Mulliner’s managing directors.
The example offered here, chassis no. BC24FM, was one of 54 produced to design no. 7443, with slightly larger rear quarter windows, providing for an airier and more sporting appearance. It was built with the optional automatic transmission and AM radio for Sir David Evans-Bevan, a wealthy Welsh industrialist who owned the Vale of Neath Brewery. Originally specified as a two-door saloon, the design was later changed before the final build, something not uncommon on these cars, and the guarantee was issued on 9 January 1959. Subsequently the car passed in 1964 to Marples, Ridgway & Partners of Grosvenor Gardens, London. A subsequent owner, noted in Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club records, was A. Khayat of Inverness-shire.
While in Mr. Khayat’s ownership the car was beautifully restored between 2007 and 2010 by the renowned British specialists, P&A Wood. Invoices on file detail the level of superb workmanship performed, including careful disassembly and rebuilding of all components, including properly finished bodywork as necessary, carefully finished in Richmond Blue lacquer, with careful fitting and alignment of all panels. A new electrical system was installed, with a period radio converted to FM with an MP3 lead, mounted in the original position in the dashboard; the brakes and suspension properly rebuilt to an original standard; and an MPH face installed in the speedometer head. Further sorting and maintenance for the current owner, since 2011, has also been performed in P&A Wood’s workshops, and these invoices, too, remain on file.
This is an exceptional example of the ultimate sporting Bentley of its era.