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Car of the Month

More on Bentley in these books:

Complete Classics: Bentley S1  

Taylor: Original Rolls-Royce & Bentley 



Car of the Month - January 2011
Bentley S1, 1956, #B85AP
Hooper Saloon

Bentley S1

In 1955 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 Sterling by shopping for the body supplied by the manufacturer itself. Not only did a coachbuilt body mean an extra expenditure of at least 2,000 Pound Sterling plus, to differentiate it from a factory product – usually a client had to invest extra time, too, before the finished product was delivered. That is obvious from the fact that Bentley S1 from the ‘AP’ chassis-series with coachwork ex-factory were delivered during second half of 1955 whereas the #B85AP was delivered to its first owner not sooner than June 1956. 

The 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 making sure 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. The standard Bentley specification of the era, 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.

Bentley S1 von Hooper

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When the Bentley S1 was launched power assisted steering had been an optional extra. That was to become series-standard early during this model’s production. The manufacturer explained details of that device in a brochure “The Rolls-Royce System of Power Assisted Steering”, from which an excerpt is shown hereunder:

S1 Power Steering

It took quite some time before the manufacturer made available completely detailed Technical Service Documents in the form of Workshop Manuals and Parts Lists to their dealers’ network. From the start the essential details only were provided in the form of "Service Data for Silver Cloud and Bentley 'S' Type" – which isn’t all bad though because that is considerably less expensive than the later TSD. Service Data Sheets are available inexpensive from and the compendium of 90 pages (photocopies) will be completed by certain additional technical advice including that as regards "The Power Assisted Steering".

Hooper Bentley S1

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