Bentley S1 Long Wheelbase
Launched in April 1955 the Bentley Series SI and the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud were virtually identical with the exception of grille and badging details. Both of these quality automobile lines were recipients of Managing Director Arthur Sedgreaves’ new production and manufacturing techniques, which produced the Standard Steel Saloon, the final iteration of the W.O. Bentley-designed straight six. With 4.9 liters, increased compression, larger carburetors and intake valves, power was said to have increased by 13 percent over its 4.5-liter predecessor. Combined with a host of suspension, steering and braking improvements, the entire S1 package was finely tuned to ensure capable, competent road manners and excellent performance. Both the Rolls-Royce and the Bentley shared these improvements.
The Standard Steel Saloon fulfilled the company’s commercial requirements, but not necessarily those of all its customers. For those preferring something more elegant or more exclusive, England’s coachbuilders were still offering bespoke coachwork. Those who could afford such cars were limited only by their imagination, particularly regarding interior furnishings and custom touches. In fact, about 3,100 Bentley S1s were built on the shorter wheelbase but only 35 on the longer wheelbase after 1957. Less than half of those long wheelbase examples went to such custom coachbuilders as Hooper & Co., H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward and James Young, among others. As such, custom coach built S1s are extraordinarily rare.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
178 bhp, 4,887 cc inline six-cylinder engine, Hydromatic four-speed automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, independent front suspension, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs. Wheelbase: 127".
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel