Lot 288 - 1956 Bentley S1 Continental Fastback by Mulliner Park Ward
|Odometer reading||65,911 miles|
|Estimate||£275,000 - £310,000|
|Result||Sold - £291,200|
There are many exquisite works of art produced by man; artists, designers and engineers have all played their part in the pantheon that represents the great feats of endeavour over the last thousand years. J. M. W. Turner, The Fighting Temeraire, Charles Barry’s Highclere Castle for all you Downton Abbey enthusiasts, anything by Bach and the Bentley S1 Continental Fastback.
The fastest (and most expensive) car on the road in 1956, fabulous from any angle and offering the same level of comfort as your favourite Chesterfield sofa in front of a roaring fire with a spaniel at your feet.
The fusion of Bentley engineering and the design concept of H. J. Mulliner produced one of the most desirable motor vehicles of the era. Its appeal remains timeless and is regarded by collectors worldwide as one of the most beautiful high performance grand touring cars ever produced. Its luxurious interior and road manners are the pinnacle of the Bentley marque’s Silent Sports Car philosophy.
It should also be noted that the gulf that separates a Continental from the average car in all the qualities that have a bearing on safety at speed is immense. Indeed Raymond Mays was quoted in Autocar as saying, “in acceleration, in braking, in cornering power, in roadholding, in responsiveness to the controls, this Bentley is the equal of modern racing cars, and superior to some.”
The S-Type's new chassis incorporated improved brakes and suspension as well as an enlarged (4,887cc) and more powerful version of the existing inlet-over-exhaust, six-cylinder engine, which for the first time was identical in specification in both Rolls-Royce and Bentley forms. The Continental version came with a shorter radiator and higher gearing and, for a time at least, could be ordered with right-hand gear change, manual transmission.
This delightfully handsome Bentley was originally registered on 24th January 1956 and has been owned by the current vendor for the last 20 years. The blue coachwork is in good order as is the brightwork. Open the door on this Bentley and you are welcomed into one of the most aesthetically pleasing interiors ever to be designed on a motor car. The armchair-like seats are supremely comfortable and the dashboard can only be described as exquisite. The dials are deep set into walnut and easy to read whilst the switches are all beautifully to hand, resulting in an effortless drive. The engine performs exactly how this tried and trusted unit should, as does the four-speed automatic gearbox. Taking into account the style, grace and power of this S1 Continental Fastback can classic car motoring get any better than this.