1956 Bentley S1 Continental Coupe by Park Ward
The Bentley motor car company was founded back in 1919 by brothers W.O. and H.M. Bentley. The Bentley brothers were involved in the motor industry having acquired the agency to sell French built DFP (Doriot, Flandrin & Parant) cars in 1912, however, they desperately wanted to build their own cars. So that they did and the first Bentley motor car, being just a chassis with a dummy engine, was shown at the 1919 London Motor Show and in late 1921 the first production Bentleys were built and delivered to their new owners.
Bentley got the formula right and their cars proved to be luxurious, reliable and fast thus attracting buyers from the elite of society in period. The cars were also incredibly successful on the race track with Bentley achieving the ultimate success winning Le Mans in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930.
The difficult economic times in the late 1920’s had a major impact on Bentley and they stopped motor racing soon after winning Le Mans in 1930 and ultimately fell into receivership in 1931. Rolls-Royce acquired the assets of Bentley in late 1931. In this period Bentley produced some fabulous motor cars including the 3 Litre, 4½ Litre, ‘Blower Bentley’, 6½ Litre and 8 Litre models that are all today highly sought after by enthusiasts and collectors all over the world. The first new Bentley produced following Rolls Royce’s acquisition was the Bentley 3½ Litre which evolved into the Bentley 4¼ Litre. Bentley’s of this era are also known as Derby Bentleys as they were built at Rolls Royce’s factory located in Derby in the north of England. Subsequent models included the Mark V, Mark VI and R-Type.
Rolls-Royce introduced the Silver Cloud and the Bentley S-Type in 1955 and for the next eleven years these models were at the cornerstone of Rolls-Royce/Bentley production. The Cloud/S-Type evolved through three major model iterations, being the Silver Cloud I/Bentley S1, Silver Cloud II/Bentley S2 and Silver Cloud III/Bentley S3 until superseded by the Silver Shadow / Bentley T-Series.
Throughout history Rolls-Royce and Bentley made their chassis’ available to specialist coachbuilders, however, by the late 1950’s and early 1960’s coach built motor cars had become extremely rare and they were built in very small numbers for the ‘rich and famous’. One of the more interesting and exclusive coach built models from this era were the Bentley Continentals, built as sedans, coupes and convertibles by coach builders such as HJ Mulliner, Park Ward, James Young, Hooper and others.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1956 Bentley S1 Continental Coupe by Park Ward.
Bentley produced only 431 S1 Continentals of which 185 were bodied by Park Ward. It is understood that only 45 right-hand drive examples were built in this body style.
The car is a UK delivered factory right hand drive example. There is an extensive history file which contains the factory build sheets and the original UK ‘buff’ registration book. The car’s first registered owner was Hewitts Garages Ltd in Stourbridge in Worcestershire in the UK which is assumed to be a dealer. The date of first registration is noted as the 26th September 1957. On the 29th October 1957 the registration was transferred to William Wittington Ltd from Wolverhampton. The car is noted as being initially registered as WW15. The registration book notes that was original colour was ‘sand over sable’. Interestingly, the build sheets note a different delivery dealer and first owner (PJ Evans Ltd, Birmingham and M Carding from Wolverhampton) and that the car’s original colour was signal red. These changes were reasonably common back in the day as cars were often ‘shuffled around’ to accommodate dealers and customers. This could also be explained by the fact the build sheets note a chassis delivery date (to Park Ward) of the 5th January 1956 and the delivery date for the car some six months later on the 19th July 1956. Perhaps Mr Carding was given another car and this Bentley Continental went into stock at Hewitt’s Garages.
In March 1962 the registration was changed to 1818UK. Then in January 1963 the car was sold to a Ronald Mason from Guilsborough in Northampton. It is understood Mason owned the car for many years.
This Bentley Continental was imported into Australia in the late 1970’s and auctioned by George Sevenoaks in 1980. The car was sold to Brian Wilson from Sydney in November 1980. He enjoyed the car for a number of years before embarking on a full restoration. At that time the top half of the car was repainted in ‘gold’ rather than ‘sand’. In circa 2001 the car was sold to a Sydney neurosurgeon. The current owner acquired the car in 2006 and has used it sparingly since, though it is seen regularly at Rolls-Royce/Bentley and Vintage Car Club events.
Today the car presents and drives very well. The paint work is good, though there is the odd blemish and stone ship evident. The colour scheme, which was very popular in period, really suits the car and we do like the addition of the red pin stripe! All of the exterior trim, chrome and glass are in similarly good condition. The interior is lovely – the leather is all in good condition and the timber is excellent. All of the instruments and controls are also in good condition and are a real feature on this period Bentley. You sit behind the wheel and just take it all in, but the knowledge that this is a very special Bentley and not ‘just an S-Type’ gets the pulse racing. Mechanically this car is sorted and it is ready to be enjoyed. It starts easily and it is apparent very quickly that this Bentley just goes about its business in a very refined way. As you would expect it is incredibly smooth, but it is also very tight on the road, it handles directly, stops efficiently and the gear change up and down is effortless. Whilst in the current owner’s tenure, this fabulous Bentley has been regularly maintained by Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialists NBS Services here in Brisbane and the owner himself. The engine was fully rebuilt by NBS Services in 2015. The car is fitted with air-conditioning, though it will require re-gassing. On a recent test drive the speedo was noted as being somewhat erratic.
Accompanying the car is tool kit, jack, pump, torch, original owner’s manual and an excellent history file which contains the original build sheets, original UK ‘buff’ registration book and York Motors service records.
The car is photographed showing the Queensland registration plate CSI56, however, it is on club registration and it will be sold unregistered.
This 1956 Bentley S1 Continental by Park Ward is an extremely rare car and it presents a very unique opportunity in Australia. To purchase one in the UK and import into Australia today is not viable when you take into account luxury car tax.
Oldtimer Australia is often privileged to offer for sale rare and unique cars, but this one is something special.
Listed price: AUD $459,950.
- Bentley S1 Continental
- 72929 miles