1959 Bentley S1 Continental by Park Ward


∙Believed to be one of only 16 made
∙Exquisite craftsmanship 
∙Newly painted and trimmed 
∙Engine rebuilt 

The Background 

Announced in 1955, the S1 was in production until 1959 and shared much of its body and its 4.9 litre 6 cylinder engine with the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I, these being the last cars to use this motor, but with a more rakish radiator grill treatment than the Rolls.

Buying a Bentley in period was a very different experience to today. While you did have the option of off-the-shelf designs like today, known as the 'Standard Steels', you also had the option of buying coach-built continentals which were sold as rolling chassis' and delivered to the likes of Park Ward to have their aluminium coachwork fitted amongst almost everything else, and were often finished to detailed and unique specifications.

The S1 continental 2-door by Park Ward is one of these special coach-built examples and the last of these, launched in 1958 had slimmer rear pillars and larger rear side windows.

Only 16 are believed to have been made in Right-Hand drive and this is one of them. 

Bentley 26.jpg 13.24 MB

The History 

The vendor purchased this lovely car from P&A Wood in 2017 for £200,000, however being the perfectionist that he is, he subsequently paid P&A Wood a further £15,000 in order to bring the car to the mechanical condition that he wanted. Described to him as a 'nice and original' example when he purchased the car, over the next few years the vendor again unfortunately let his perfectionist side get the better of him, and ended up spending a small fortune re-trimming the car, undergoing a bare-metal respray, rebuilding the engine and much more. 

The Paperwork 

The history file contains numerous invoices that range from boring the cylinders to an engine rebuild as well as a detailed road-test report from P&A wood when from when the vendor purchased the car in 2017. 

Rebuilding a car involves collecting a great many parts and there are pages of bills from specialist suppliers for items large and small, from gaskets and glass washer bottles to exhaust parts, all going into a fastidious restoration. Parts from Flying Spares weigh in at well over £4,000, not including rebuilding the motor of course! 

The Interior

Newly re-trimmed in red leather, the deeply sprung seats are absolutely stunning, it's hard to imagine a better colour pairing than red and silver, which works so well here. Seatbelts have been added for all 4 seats, disguised by using red webbing.  The door cards are also red leather, surprisingly simple in design the pattern of the leather panels is almost art deco, and adorned with simple chrome and bakelite electric window switches, topped with beautiful and deep lustrous wood capping. The driver's switch does have some small chips which look like they’ve been there for many years. 

The fine timber bends around to meet the matching dashboard which is very attractive and in generally very good condition; there is some age related patina to the surface around the black faced instruments but if anything, this adds character.

There is what looks to be a newer wood section below the dash which looks to be for the air conditioning vents.

The carpet, also red, is deep and soft, edged in red leather and is in perfect new condition. The steering wheel is in fine shape as is the headlining, and a modern retro styled radio is fitted.

The Exterior

Stunning in silver, the S1 bodywork has a very complex shape with many small details pressed into the metal, often hidden by a darker colour but visible in a lighter shade. The finish is lovely, deep and glossy and being new there are no stone chips or scratches, and any corrosion was dealt with when the car was stripped to bare metal, and it was undersealed after painting to protect from rust for the future. There is a small mark in the surface on the boot lid, bu otherwise flawless.

The ‘face’ of the Bentley is heavily dressed in chrome, not just the big radiator and flying B, but the the lamp bezels, driving lights and very large bumper with overriders. The chrome is all in superb condition both front and back, just the enamel B badge at the front has a chip. 

The polished metal and body colour hubcaps are in great shape, centred with the Bentley name in that wonderful mid-century block capital script that looks so ‘modern Britain’ of the time in contrast to the traditional style of the car. The wheels are shod in new Maxxis 15” white wall rubber.  

The Mechanics

Having been stripped, dipped and machined the engine is virtually new, and the car has also been rewired and has a new battery and radiator and many other new components such as brake flexi hoses and rubber fuel lines.

As described in the history section, the motor was disassembled and sent to Thurston Engineering where the block and head were machined and engine rebuilt with many new components including new pistons. 

Needless to say, this wonderful machine is ready to be enjoyed by its next custodian. 

The Appeal

The S1 has an enduring appeal, the flowing lines are incredibly beautiful exuding elegance and style, with a 1950s modern take on the classic British luxury shape, while inside it's still a country house drawing room on wheels.

Having been completely restored and rebuilt at vast expense, this is an amazing opportunity to drive an almost new S1 Continental for a fraction of the price of what it has cost the vendor in getting it here. These are the ultimate in understated luxury, and as fashions fade, style remains.

This vehicle is subject to third party financing. The amount of finance due on the vehicle is less than the reserve. The seller will discharge the financing debt and all related costs absolutely within two full working days from the end of the auction on a successful sale and will confirm to the buyer that such release has occurred. This obligation will be implied into the contract of sale between the buyer and the seller on auction close.

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Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1959
  • Make Bentley
  • Model S1 Continental
  • Colour Silver
  • Odometer 9,721 Miles
  • Engine size 4887
  • Location Essex
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
22 bids
  • joe.col•••• £215,000 18/06/21
  • Jim mob•••• £210,000 17/06/21
  • joe.col•••• £200,000 17/06/21
  • brandon•••• £190,000 16/06/21
  • aero8_l•••• £185,000 15/06/21
  • brandon•••• £180,000 15/06/21
  • Jim mob•••• £175,500 15/06/21
  • aero8_l•••• £170,000 14/06/21
  • brandon•••• £150,000 14/06/21
  • aero8_l•••• £140,000 14/06/21

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