Lot 192 - 1962 Bentley S2 Continental Drophead Coupé by Park Ward
|Odometer reading||86,252 miles|
|Estimate||£90,000 - £110,000|
Introduced in the autumn of 1959 and described as 'arguably the best looking' by Martin Bennett' in his book 'Bentley Continental', the S2 version typically cost some 40% more than the equivalent standard steel saloon and was definitely the preserve of a privileged few. 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 producing approximately 25% more power than the old six. It offered high-speed travel in silence and luxury. The Continental version steered away from its often-standard steel sister and was usually coachbuilt. The firms of H. J. Mulliner, Park Ward, James Young and Hooper all offered handcrafted bodies on the Continental S2 chassis. Of the 388 S2 Continentals made, just 125 came draped with bodies from the Willesden firm and, with such illustrious heritage going right back to the early days of W. O. Bentley and his engineering company in nearby Cricklewood, they could often be found on the Côte d'Azur and St. Moritz.
This example sports an early example of Park Ward's influential 'straight-through wing' body style and proved popular; it offered a feeling of speed and elegance. Importantly a rare factory drophead model, it was initially sold into stock at R. S. Mead Ltd. of Maidenhead before selling to a Mr. Ferranti on North Wales with a registration of 95 DXY in April, 1962. It came with electrically operated windows, a power operated hood and hood cover, Dunlop Roadspeed tubeless tyres and luggage straps. It is worth noting that it also came with a heavy-gauge frame, UR 4743. In 1965, the car passed to a Mr. Fattorini of Ilkley, Yorkshire before the trail goes cold.
Still carrying its original paintwork, Regal Red with off-white leather upholstery, beige West of England cloth headlining and beige carpeting, we pick up the story in 1990 when it caught the eye of a Mr. E. Shah. Famous for a number of media empires and for a diverse portfolio of interests, Eddie Shah caught the public eye when he ‘left’ the Manchester Evening News and launched the Today newspaper and Messenger Newspaper Group. He quickly found his footing and soon, with a few more titles under his belt, rocked the political establishment by using anti-trade union laws introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s governments to defeat the print unions. The unions were hog-tying British industry and Eddie Shah, to his credit, bought them to the negotiating table. A full report and road-test was commissioned that made for expensive reading but, never being one to shy away from a challenge, some £12,455 was spent in 1992 to bring this specialist motorcar back up to scratch. A Mr. Caldwell then acquired the vehicle in approximately 1994 followed by Mr. Kent from Norfolk in 2003. General servicing bills can be found within the history file to this effect. Mr. Kent then rebuilt the rear springs, replaced the main shaft and renovated the driver’s seat to the tune of nearly £4,000.
Supplied in well preserved condition but with substantial mechanical and servicing bills to its credit, FHH 45C underwent an MoT test in 2017. It failed but, with an enterprising zeal akin to Mr. Shah, its current owner set about the extensive and expensive job of bringing this rare factory Continental Drophead Coupé back to good order. For the last ten years, it has been cherished and driven regularly. The paintwork is sound but not perfect and the interior shows patina but no damage. The engine has been described as good with no smoke and pulling well. It has also had a total brake overhaul with some of the best Bentley mechanics in the business, Frank Dales & Stepsons of London. Whilst there, a new mohair hood was fitted and a full 100 point service took place. This now places this extremely collectible motorcar front and centre in terms of investment opportunities. Priced well and with much work completed, this true-blue factory Continental Drophead is simply waiting to stretch its legs with its discerning new owner.
Interested parties should note that, due to time constraints, this vehicle does not come with an MoT test certificate.
Previous lotLot 191 - 1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.