Main Index


Each Model ever built

Coachbuilders, Special Cars...

Cars of 98
Car of the Month Selection

Car of the Month - February 98
Bentley S1, 1957, #B504EG, Hooper Saloon

Bentley S1, 1957, #B504EG, Hooper Saloon

In 1957 the five London coachbuilders listed different body styles for the Bentley S1 and of course you could save yourself the very princely sum of at least 2,000 Pound by shopping for the body supplied by the manufacturer itself. That 2,000 Pound made the difference between survival and demise of the coachbuilders, by 1962 when tax on cars was reduced from 60 % to 25 only one independent firm remained. A coachbuilt body meant an extra expenditure of at least 2,000 Pound plus, to differentiate it from a factory product. The Annual motor show at Earls Court was therefore the occasion when coachbuilders could vie with each other for what remained of the dwindling clientele. Of the five major London Coachbuilders perhaps only Hooper & Co could display a full range that ran from Limousines to lightweight sports cars.
Bentley S1, 1957, #B504EG, Hooper Saloon, In 1957 their model range had been completed with showing their 1955 design on the Bentley S1 Chassis but with a modification that lightened the back of the car by omitting a full spat of the rear wheels. This particular vehicle was painted pale grey and excited favourable comment from the motoring press. The AUTOCAR found the car 'attractive' and the finish 'superlative'. The cross banded Eucalyptus woodwork the same weekly magazine found was used to 'great effect' and THE MOTOR found this feature re-called 'the satinwood that Sheraton so admired..'. This particular motor show exhibit was Hooper's body no. 10218 and it is not commonly known that this was almost an exact copy of their previous body no. 10216 on Bentley S1 chassis no. B504EG.
Bentley S1, 1957, #B504EG, Hooper SaloonThe Hooper S1 weighed over 80 lbs lighter than the factory's standard body and there was also an additional advantage of rather more pronounced 'streamlining'. Rolls-Royce engineers at Crewe who were not above makingsure coachbuilders towed the line, had tested an S1 of Hooper's and noted that for a weight penalty of 2 1/2 lbs they could improve the stiffness factor of the Alpax sill casting from 127 (which compared unfavourably with R-R's own factor of 174) to a 180. This was adopted by the coachbuilder's Chief Designer Osmond Rivers when the next sanctions of bodies were built from the autumn of 1956. This made the latter S1 Bentleys torsionally much more stable.

Bentley S1, 1957, #B504EG, Hooper Saloon
The Bentley S1 #B504EG was sold to an English customer but the intervening 40 years since it was sold has seen it, like so many British makes of car, being driven on the other side of the Atlantic. For several years now it is domiciled in Germany and the gentleman in whose custody this car is found that it had been properly maintained in its early life. The standard Bentley specification of the era, power steering, automatic transmission, heated rear window and efficient screenwasher made the car quite ahead of it's time. As the Bentley can run quite happily on unleaded fuel it does meet present conditions well. Driving this car is a pleasurable experience. The engine was rebuilt completely and additional work has been carried out with no expenses spared. The car's appearance though is not spoiled by having been subject to a restoration; it is a magnificent example of an outstanding coachbuilt motor car which benefitted from 'loving tender care'.

Bentley S1, 1957, #B504EG, Hooper Saloon

(©) Copyright 1997-2013 K.-J. Roßfeldt / Information on this site is for viewing and personal information only. Information and photos are protected by copyright. Any unauthorized use or reproduction of material from this site without written permission is strictly prohibited. Infringement of copyright will rise to both civil law remedies and criminal penalties.
Comments and support to: archives webmaster          Url: