Lot 328 - 1957 Bentley SI Drophead Coupé in H. J. Mulliner style by Racing Green Engineering
|Odometer reading||77,132 miles|
|Estimate||£200,000 - £230,000|
|Result||Sold - £198,000|
- Immaculate condition throughout
- Fully restored including a full mechanical rebuild
- A totally sublime driving experience
A bespoke Jermyn Street suit, a handmade Patek Philippe watch, brogues from one of Northampton’s finest craftsmen; there is a reason why these prerequisites of style will always represent the cornerstone of any collection let alone the day-ware of a gentleman. The missing element is, of course, the correct motorcar.
Rolls-Royce and Bentley have always represented that sector perfectly. Timeless elegance for former and for the ‘younger’ generation, the more sporting Bentley models.
Following on from the R-Type, a magnificent Continental sports saloon, came the final generation of six-cylinder cars, the all-new Silver Cloud (Rolls-Royce) and Bentley S-Type. The Continental lost some of its individuality but none of its exclusivity. Eulogising about Bentley's new 'S' Series cars, introduced in April 1955, The Autocar wrote, “the latest Bentley model offers a degree of safety, comfort and performance that is beyond the experience and perhaps even the imagination of the majority of the world's motorists”.
The beautiful shape of the S1 used the car’s length to its full advantage with the interior featuring all of the usual appointments expected in a Rolls Royce or Bentley of the period.These hand-bult and exquisite motorcars were periodically diverted through various coachbuilder of the time, most notably perhaps, Park Ward and H. J. Mulliner. It was the latter that became synonymous the convertible ‘First-series’example, however (retrospectively known as the S1).
The fixedhead and drophead bodies are essentially identical in design, apart from additional strengthening to the latter's underpinnings to compensate for the loss of rigidity due to the open configuration. Interestingly, only two Bentley S1 drophead conversions were ever produced on the order of Rolls-Royce Ltd as a prototype with both completed by H.J. Mulliner, one lefthand drive and one right, making them the most sought-after standard steel adaptations in existence.
It is important to note, I believe, that all convertible Mulliner ‘Adaptations’ started life as fixedhead saloons and that it was only when delivered to the relevant coachbuilder, that the conversion began. And so it is with Racing Green Engineering.
Like coachbuilders Mulliners, Racing Green Engineering have been restoring cars in rural Carmarthenshire for over 40 years. Their team of dedicated craftsman have painstakingly recreated a number of Bentley and Rolls-Royce specials, such as the Blue Train but also pre-war Alfa Romeos and a number of Ferrari 250 GTOs.
Make no mistake however, these aren’t ten-foot cars’ (convincing at 10ft) but meticulous nut-and-bolt restorations. Indeed, their attention to detail has been established worldwide for its design accuracy in recreating their range with all produced on original marque chassis.
The Bentley SI presented here today follows in the design concept of H. J. Mulliner who produced a series of these cars becoming known as the adaptation models (i.e. using the standard steel bodied cars adapted to the convertible design)
This adaptation from saloon to drophead coupé included a comprehensive nut and bolt rebuild in 2015 since when it has covered approximately 6,000 miles during which time, it has been regularly serviced and maintained. The car has factory fitted power steering, electric windows, and power operated roof. The history file includes factory data sheets and original order and current V5C.
The engine, as you would expect, is a fully rebuilt, 4,887cc six-cylinder in-line unit with twin SU carburettors and twin electric fuel pumps. Power is through an automatic gearbox with braking using hydraulic front and rear drum brakes assisted by a mechanically driven servo.
As per the original cars, the doors and boot lid are aluminium and the hydraulically retractable soft-top is a fully lined, double duck unit. The bumpers and hubcaps are stainless steel with all other bright work chromium plated. The interior leather upholstery is of the highest quality with superb leather-bound close-woven carpets throughout. All veneered dashboard and door cappings and picnic tables are faultless and, for additional safety, the windscreen is tinted and laminated with electrically operated side windows.
Quite simply, this is the highest quality and most cost-effective example available on the market today.
Interested parties should note that this is the last example of this car in this configuration ever built by Racing Green Engineering and that no more will ever be produced.
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.