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Bennet: Bentley Continental

Roßfeldt: From the dawn of the century ...

Car of the Month - November 2002
Bentley S1, 1956, #B291AP
H.J. Mulliner 4 Door Sports Saloon

Bentley S1 Continental

The 4-Door-Sports-Saloon was a brainchild of H.J. Mulliner's designer Herbert Nye. Listed as Design No. 7401 this creation was particularly attractive because it gave the impression of less massive coachwork than that of the standard Bentley S1. With a body made entirely from aluminium certain weight-saving was an advantage of the coachbuilt version, too. This resulted in better acceleration and higher top speed, although there was no earth-shattering difference. Vision was enhanced by slim pillars.

It is an extremely rare motor car even by comparison to the highly esteemed Bentley S1 Continental, whose an overall production figure was 431 (of which 218 received coachwork by H.J. Mulliner). Whereas no more than 27 examples of the H.J. Mulliner 4 Door Sports Saloon were made on Bentley S1 chassis (plus 4 on the chassis of the sister model Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I). Such exclusivity was not inexpensive - the price of this "fully coachbuilt Bentley" was some 66 % more than that of the Standard Steel Saloon ex-factory.

At that price-level some additional investment to fulfil certain personal desires was only marginal. The customer ordered semaphore indicators (positioned in the B-posts) in addition to traffic indicators, although at that time semaphore indicators were old-fashioned even in the United Kingdom. The driver's seat was mounted on extended rails offering suitable adjustment even for a tall driver. The radiator shell was non-standard in being equipped with a flag mounting located directly behind the "Winged B"..

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