∙ Extensive past restoration to body ∙ Just three owners since 1959 ∙ Excellent history file
If you want a bit of classic luxury, the obvious choices are of course the cars from the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Handily, the latter is what we have here in the guise of a beautiful 1959 Bentley S1. Introduced in 1955, the S1 (and ‘sister’ Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud) brought with them a new age for both brands. Constructed using more modern techniques, bodied in house rather than by coachbuilders (though there were exceptions, of course), these cars were built on the new age of Bentley and Rolls-Royce bringing the complete construction of their cars in house, showing that the R Type ‘standard steel’ wasn’t a one off.
The S1 took over from the R Type (or Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn). It was longer, it was lower, it was more comfortable thanks to better suspension, the steering was lighter, the engine was bigger and a new four-speed automatic transmission was introduced. It was also a beauty, thanks to its curvaceous, three-box saloon design, which in turn brought improved boot space. It became an instantly recognisable shape, and one that still manages to turn heads today. Class does not, it seems, ever go out of style.
First registered on the 10th July 1959, this glorious Bentley S1 actually started life as a black over silver car - we’ll get to the change in a minute. From what we can see, the car has had three owners. The first owned it until 2002, it was then sold again in 2004 and has recently been acquired by the current vendor, who has since decided to focus on his other classics. As such, this can is now being offered here.
From the history file, we can see that by 2004, the big Bentley had fallen into some disrepair largely due to the issue of rust. Happily though, and at huge expense, this has all been remedied. The rear arches, sills, outriggers, some areas of the floor, the bulkhead, lamp housings, lower door frames and more were all replaced. There is of course, photographic evidence included to support the depth and the quality of the work undertaken.
Furthermore, the car has also benefited from a complete and incredibly thorough mechanical overhaul, which saw almost every component under the bonnet and under the car receive attention. The brakes, the suspension, the engine - it’s all been overhauled. This machine is, make no mistake, truly on the button.
The paperwork included with this Bentley is refreshingly in-depth. There are invoices from Taylors of Chichester to support the considerable mechanical overhaul, including details of all works done and all parts used. There is also a wealth of information relating to the bodywork carried out, including invoices for all the parts and panels used, as well as technical drawings to show what has been done. Furthermore, as mentioned, there is also a collection of photographs that show the process of the restoration.
There are other invoices for smaller items, such as locks, some emblems and of course, the expected consumables and fluids etc. There is a V5 present, as well as some information pertaining to past MOTs. There is no MOT in place currently, however, the vehicle is exempt and, given the level of work done in the past, is fully functional and in excellent health.
The interior has a pleasing ‘familiarity’ about it, by which we mean everything is just nicely broken in. The leather is all in good condition generally, though has signs of cracking due to age. A condition and feed would do it wonders. Though that’s all - it needs no repair that we could see.
The dash is in excellent order, complete with folder under-table. The gauges are all clear and functional, and have a charming bit of age to them. You can certainly tell they’re original. The steering wheel has age-related wear, but is in lovely condition still. So too is the headlining and all the door cards. The wood capping on all the doors is excellent, too. No peeling, cracking or fading. The same can be said of the fold-up tables in the rear quarters.
The carpets would benefit from a deep clean, but are in good condition with no excessive wear or damage. The door shuts all look good, with no significant rot or corrosion to be observed, and all the door strikers are in good order.
The boot is clean, dry and free from any corrosion when exposed by lifting the carpets. The filler neck area is solid, the floors too. The original tool kit, while dusty, is complete and in situ. The carpets are good, as are the seals around the boot itself.
This big old S1 presents very well indeed. As we hinted at earlier, this car started life (at least according to our records) as black over silver, but has since been changed to a far more appealing combination of blue over silver. It gives the car a lighter, less imposing appearance. The paintwork is largely in excellent condition, though is not without the odd blemish and mark, but in the sense of age and patina than damage and neglect. There is some bubbling and imperfections on the offside front wing, and there is some surface rust to be observed on some of the inner arch lips, but that’s all. Get on top of those little bits, and that’s all you need to do. The rest is generally very good.
The glass is all good, with good rubbers that seal well. The wipers and wiper arms are good, too. The Bentley’s chrome-work has some age to it and as such, some fine pitting in places. However it’s not anything serious nor did we see any underlying corrosion. The only bit of slight concern can be found on the offside rear bumper overrider, where the plating has flaked off. A simple enough part to replace.
The wheels are all in good order, and all wear their matching Bentley trims. Looking under the car, there is very little to be concerned by. The lips on the sills would benefit from being cleaned back and treated, and the exhaust would benefit from a bit of a clean-up, but that’s it. The floors and chassis are all seemingly rock solid, and everything has a generous coating of underseal/stone chip. It’s been very well restored, but also very well protected.
The big straight-six engine is pleasingly silky smooth, and pulls the big Bentley along with a reassuring push rather than by doing anything urgent. It’s a powerful car, not a fast one. You ask it to go, and it does, with great ease. It’s silky smooth, it pulls well through all the gears and the transmission itself is smooth as it shifts. You very quickly get the impression this car would jst run and run.
The suspension is free from any bumps, rattles or knocks. The car glides along, soaking up the imperfections of the road ahead without so much as a hint of complaint. There’s a bit of roll, as you’d expect, but nothing untoward. The brakes pull the car to a stop without drama and do so in an impressively short space.
It’s just a very smooth, comfortable, quiet place to be even when you’re thundering along. It’s a car that, despite its size, you soon build confidence in driving. And it’s great fun to drive, too. The passengers will of course be glad of their surroundings, but you won’t have any complaints from behind the wheel.
It’s a car for the elite, but one that could be yours for new Mondeo money. And who doesn’t want a bit of that action? This is a glorious old machine that has had an incredible amount of money spent on its upkeep and restoration. It’s got years and years of motoring left in it, and trust us, you want them to be with you. This is a joy to look at, a joy to drive and it’s also the kind of car that you could polish some value into. A bit of detailing, a bit of fettling and this would move up another class. All the hard work has been done. Now it’s the time to bid, buy and make it your own.
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