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Roßfeldt: From the dawn of the century ...

Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit & Silver Spur, Bentley Mulsanne, Eight, Continental, Brooklands & Azure

Bennet: The Crewe Years

Car of the Month - December 2003
Bentley S2 Continental, 1961, #BC28LCZ,
Park Ward Drophead Coupé

Bentley S2 Continental

Rarely was there ever an exception to the rule that the design was distinctively conservative on standard coachwork as well as coachbuilt bodies erected on a Bentley chassis. When Park Ward offered their innovative design number 991 for the Bentley S2 Continental that was a bold alternative. This modern two door version – available only in drophead coupé guise - was the design of Vilhelm Koren, a Norwegian living in the UK, working as a member of the team at Park Ward. The challenge for Koren was to create a great design for the "jet age" yet still retain the Bentley grace and style. The result was a smooth-sided body with straight lines from the headlamps to the tail lamps, a rear view that evokes rockets and thrust, and a cockpit-like driver's position with a hooded nacelle. The success showed his design did comply perfectly well with demand: 125 such drophead coupes were ordered – about one third of the 388 Bentley S2 Continental models delivered.

Bentley S2 Continental

Bentley Continental models are distinguished from their “mainstream” Bentley brethren by higher-than-standard performance and a special coachbuilt body. Continentals reached higher performance levels by lightweight body construction, powerful engines, higher gear ratios, or some combination of the three. All Continentals were 2-door sports saloons or drophead coupes, with the exception of the four-door "Flying Spur".

Bentley S2 Continental

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(Perhaps it might be helpful to give some hints as regards several automobile terms that need translation if you are non-British:
A "sports saloon" is a high-performance two- or four-door enclosed automobile with a front and back seat;  a "drophead coupé" is a two-door convertible (on the European Continent usually described as "cabriolet" (or in France: decapotable); the "hood" is the convertible top; the "bonnet" is the hood; the "boot" is the trunk. Well, there is some truth in the idiom ”England and America are two Great Countries, divided by a common language!”)

Bentley S2 Continental

Only 20 left-hand drive Park Ward Drophead Coupés were shipped to the USA. This one was ordered by a lady residing in Palm Springs, California. A most complete documentation gives evidence that later the car found its way to Florida and then into the custody of a collector from Houston, Texas. The records tell much more though, they state beyond doubt that this particular car has been lovingly cared for and properly maintained, regardless of expense. The engine had been subject to an overhaul and the wood had been re-finished while the car still was in Florida. Expensive (and correct) mechanical restorations completed in the last three years included steering and suspension, transmission and differential, tyres and brakes, exhaust, starter and wiring, carburettors and ignition, radiator, air conditioning, and top. But one detail from an endless list: The springs on the rear axle were protected by tailored leather gaiters – as had been standard when the car was supplied new.

Bentley S2 Continental

This car will now be allowed to change into the hands of the next custodian. Asking price is 97,000 US$ (ca. 81,500 EURO), considerably less than the amount of more than 130,000 US$ that had been invested. Perhaps a good reason to contact the present owner? His e-mail address is

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