S2 LWB, LHD, #LLBA9
Wendler Shooting Brake
majority of all Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars from the sixties
sported standard coachwork ex factory. Coachbuilt motor cars were of
somewhat special status, usually representing highlights of coachbuilder's
art as regards design and craftmanship. Even when contemplating that
beauty is much in the eye of the beholder there cannot be much doubt that
a Bentley S2 with shooting brake body to a Mercedes-Benz design will
rarely ever be awarded a trophy during a Concours d'Elegance.
the story of this motor car is as unique as its appearance and the order
for this car being placed with the German coachbuilder Wendler of
Reutlingen for the owner was but consequently following a tradition.
Bentley S2 had had a predecessor in the form of a Mercedes-Benz 300S. This
model had not been available with a shooting brake body from the company.
Acting as an agent for a client who insisted his name not to be mentioned
was a certain Mr. E.E. Endt from New York who ordered a Mercedes-Benz 300S
to be bodied by Wendler. Paintwork in "fishsilver-metallic" and
"orange-red" coloured leather upholstery was specified - and of
course a body in the form of a five door shooting brake. Curiously enough,
this car is not to be found in the list of special bodies by Wendler which
has been compiled several years ago - though long after the coachbuilder
had decided to throw away all their old documents before moving to new
regards the 1960 Bentley S2, #LLBA9, but very few documents do exist at
Wendler's and a few more are part of the Rolls-Royce files now in the
custody of the RREC. The client's name again didn't appear. Instead his
agent E.E. Endt ordered from the New York dealer J.S. Inskip a Bentley S2
chassis with long wheelbase and left hand drive to be delivered to Wendler
of Reutlingen. Of 57 lwb Bentley S2 there were but 6 fitted with bodies by
independent coachbuilders - and this one was the only lhd example.
Wendler had started coachbuilding in Reutlingen in 1840. The business
remained in the family which only after the Great War decided to start
building bodies for motor cars. The company satisfied their customers'
demands. Their products were including lorries and cattle transporters and
coachwork of finest quality on such renowned chassis as Benz, Maybach -
and one Bentley 3 Litre. An outstanding product being an armoured Cadillac
to the order of H.M. The King Ibn Saud.
order for the Bentley S2 was detailed asking for white wall tyres by
Firestone, "Made in England" origin sign, big dimensioned brake
pedal, specially loud horns and several minor extras. Because a special
type of headlamps was asked for and the headlamps usually were integrated
into the front wings, Rolls-Royce added a wooden crate containing two
front wings complete with headlamps, when the car was shipped to the
strictly did obey the order of their somewhat eccentric customer who had
made it quite clear that the coachwork had to be almost identical to that
of the current, only recently introduced Mercedes-Benz 300 SE -
characteristic for its tailfins. Hence there was no chance for Wendler to
make use of the original front wings; which Rolls-Royce had charged and
delivered. In their place very long and high front wings to the muster of
the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE were tailored exactly to the Bentley engine's and
front's length. Mercedes-Benz twin headlamps to US-specification were
fitted. Paintwork was exactly as with the previous Mercedes-Benz 300 S in
"fishsilver-metallic" and again "orange-red" leather
was used for the upholstery. The interior showed combination of Bentley
elements and some which clearly were of Mercedes-Benz origin. The
instruments which usually are arranged in the S2 facia's centre were
positioned to the left side with the speedometer in front of the driver.
All knobs and door handles appear to be Mercedes-Benz; which in fact is
not correct - they were all made as one-offs to Mercedes-Benz designs. To
round off the rather brute teutonic look of the interior the facia was
ordered in massive oak and not walnut veneered...
the very unusual appearance it cannot be denied though that this special
motor car at that time amalgamated the finest from both worlds: the solid
chassis of the Bentley S2 with its enormous strength and the new powerful
V8-engine were united with a body and an interior by the then finest
German coachbuilder. It is somewhat strange but true that any
Mercedes-Benz aficionado as well as any Bentley enthusiast feels
immediately well at home once behind the steering wheel of this
automobile. A fine advantage is that the rear light can be lowered into
the back door and an almost staggering amount of space is offered when the
rear seats are folded flat. Wendler had dealt with the problem of the
coachwork being originally of monocoque construction by welding in a lot
of strengthening devices. This resulted in the coachwork becoming rather
heavy which didn't bother the owner. The engine with its 6,230 ccm
capacity delivered more than sufficient power.
Bentley was tested extensively registered with German oval custom's plates
reading 254 Z-609 before she crossed the Atlantic ocean. Then she was used
for some time in Virginia/USA, though it was registered in the name of
someone who gave as his address the New York Yacht Club. After the demise
of the gentleman who had fulfilled his wish for dream car in such a
special way the car was given to an American museum - again no name
mentioned with the executor's explanation that this was due to the owner's
last will's instructions. Some time later the car was sold again and then
used in Europe for several years - maintenance bills and ferry tickets
were sent to a Paris address.
mileage had not exceeded 37.000 miles when the Bentley S2 became the
property of collector in Florida - who happened to own the mate too, the
still existing Mercedes-Benz 300 S bodied by Wendler for the same client.
The new owner was keen to collect as much information as regards this
unique pair of motor cars as possible. He felt rather sure even to be able
to find out the name of the original owner because both cars showed
stripes in red and blue applied to their front doors. Alas, these were not
matching to any of the race colours which ever had been found on yachts of
members of the New York Yacht Club. Almost unbelievable was the
information that in the late Eighties both cars were owned by a collector
in New York again!
the exception of hints as regards the original owner of the car (which are
not verified) there remains but to resume that a well-heeled eccentric has
been in position to fulfill his wishes for a dream-car: a Bentley-based
photos courtesy of deWayne G. Richey, III, U.S.A.