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Car of the Month

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Bennet: Bentley Continental

Roßfeldt: From the dawn of the century ...

Car of the Month - October 2002
Bentley S2 Continental, 1961, #BC110AR
James Young Two Door Saloon

Bentley S2 Continental

Usually the company records are the most correct source of information as regards any peculiarities of a certain motor car. As regards Rolls-Royce and Bentley "Chassis Cards" are considered to inform precisely about specifications that had been ordered as well as details from the production period and very often noted there is when a car changed hands during later years, too. However the Chassis Card of the Bentley S2 Continental with chassis number BC110AR gives that car off as a 4-Door-Saloon by James Young; subsequently it was listed as such in several books on Bentley. But this car was finished as a Two Door Saloon; one of the - rare - examples of company records not informing entirely correct. 

Bentley S2 Continental Chassis Card

No error though as regards the coachbuilder. At a quick glance it isn't easy to distinguish two door saloons by James Young from those by H.J. Mulliner, because their designs didn't differ too much. Experts know that James Young's version is distinguishable by the continuous swageline across the front and rear wings, whereas H.J. Mulliner didn't decide on an unbroken line. Exclusively James Young is the distinctive door handle with square push button. Such features as sharp corners at the bottom of the windscreen are James Young styling, too, whereas other coachbuilders preferred a 'rounded' line.

The credit for this graceful design belongs with A.F. McNeil, James Young's Chief Designer. He had started his career prior to WWII with J. Gurney Nutting. - After the war he worked for both companies because they had been acquired by the Jack Barclay organisation. This design of a two door saloon with slim pillars supporting the roof, almost filigree, met with much acclaim as being exceptionally beautiful. Indeed it was carried on - slightly modified - for the following Bentley S3 Continental and a few Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III.

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(Photos: Courtesy of Dr. M. Nowka, Germany)


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