Two rare classic Bentleys for sale with H&H Classics

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Two rare classic Bentleys for sale with H&H Classics
1961 Bentley.

LONDON.- Two Classic Bentley Continental Sports Saloons, an S1 and an S2, built in 1958 and 1961 for long haul Continental journeys in luxury and comfort, come to sale with H&H Classics on March 16th at Duxford. Both cars were bodied by the legendary coachbuilder James Young Ltd.

This magnificent 1958 Bentley S1 Continental Sports Saloon in silver is for sale for an estimate of £160,000 to £180,000.

One of just thirteen RHD cars to be bodied by James Young to its Design No. CT29 on the S1 Continental chassis, it has been the subject of a fully documented restoration by Matthew Rees of Swansea, culminating in a six-page feature in the November 2021 issue of Classic and Sports Car Magazine.

Supplied via Jack Barclay to Victor Ercolani Esq. (of ‘Ercol’ furniture fame) it has just 32,000 miles from new with documented ownership history and is finished in striking Rolls-Royce Pewter with Tan leather.

It is fitted with some very subtle upgrades to assist with modern life, including Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth and DAB Radio.

Despite the popularity of the standard steel bodywork, introduced when production of Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars resumed after WW2, independent coachbuilders continued to offer alternatives, perhaps the most stylish being those produced to clothe the Bentley Continental. The latter began life exclusively as a two-door car, but in 1957 H J Mulliner was sanctioned to build a four-door car on the Continental chassis, this elegant six-light model being known as the 'Flying Spur'. James Young, by then part of the Jack Barclay Group, responded with its own equally sporting four-light four-door saloon. Elegant, well-proportioned and handsome, James Young's four-door Continental offered the latest in automotive styling combined with practicality, grace and space.

To put back together an old car that someone else has taken apart is never easy. When that car in question is a 1950s Bentley S1 Continental the problems only multiply. Restorer Matthew Rees of Swansea was tasked with this mammoth project, following our vendor’s acquisition of the rare James Young-bodied Continental nine years ago – the perfect stable mate for his S1 fastback.

Rees found the quality of the James Young workmanship to be unmatched: “Everything was built in layers. You had to get every layer right or the next one wouldn’t fit. The door assemblies alone take hours to strip down and rebuild, held together by hundreds of BA-thread screws. ”Maintaining these standards throughout was key; one rear door, for instance, was removed and refitted a total of 14 times: “Even then I still wasn’t 100% happy and poor Adrian, who worked with me on the body, looked as if he had lost the will to live. But then the owner came to view it, and pointed out that the shut lines were probably better than had come from James Young in period.” g would have approved.

Starting readily and running faultlessly during our recent photographic shoot, this rare coachbuilt S1 Continental is sure to offer plenty of admiring glances wherever it goes. The car is blessed with some fantastic, yet subtle modern upgrades, meaning ‘FSU 940 would be equally at home on the streets of central London, or the sweeping B-roads of the Cotswolds. Post-War Bentleys rarely come more beautiful or collectible.

1961 Bentley S2 Continental Sports Saloon Coachwork by James Young Estimate £95,000 - £115,000 - The total build cost amounted to £7,876, nearly three times the average house price in the UK at the time.

This 1961 Bentley S2 Continental Sports Saloon is one of just 23 RHD Bentley S2 Continental chassis to be bodied by James Young to their design number CV100.

It was supplied new to W. Turner Esq. and is well specified with power steering, automatic transmission, electric windows and air conditioning. The car is a veteran of numerous BDC and RREC rallies and tours and has been the subject of much past restoration and maintenance work.

Martin Bennett writing in Rolls-Royce and Bentley., states: “In the twilight of their coachbuilding years, James Young had with these cars reached the pinnacle of excellence.”-

In the 1950s and 1960s the Bentley Continental was the world's ultimate Grand Tourer, a car in which you could set off from any European capital in the morning and arrive at Monte Carlo fresh enough to play the tables that same evening. Introduced in the autumn of 1959, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2 appeared externally unchanged from their 'Cloud and S-Type predecessors, though the duo's performance was considerably enhanced by the new 6,230cc aluminium-alloy V8 engine. Although wider and shorter than the 'six' it replaced, the new power unit fitted relatively easily within the engine bay, relocation of the steering box from inside to outside of the chassis frame being the most obvious alteration to the previous arrangements. Externally the new models appeared virtually unchanged, while beneath the skin Rolls-Royce's own four-speed automatic transmission was now the only one on offer and power steering had been standardised.

Despite the popularity of the 'standard steel' bodywork, introduced when production of Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars resumed after WW2, a steadily declining number of independent coachbuilders continued to offer alternatives. Arguably the most stylish were those produced to clothe the Bentley Continental which, of course, was only ever available with bespoke coachwork. One of the most prominent of these surviving firms was James Young, a company that had established itself among the foremost coachbuilders for upmarket chassis by the end of the 1930s. The Bromley-based carriage-maker had bodied its first automobile in 1908, affiliating itself with a succession of quality marques throughout the 1920s and 1930s before being acquired by the Jack Barclay Group in 1937. Its factory was devastated by wartime bombing, the company did not resume exhibiting at the London Motor Shows until 1948, continuing to offer coachbuilt designs of distinction on (mainly) Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis until the arrival of the unitary construction Silver Shadow/T-Series range in the 1960s. A lack of suitable chassis would force the firm's closure before the 'Sixties decade ended, but in its declining years James Young produced what are widely recognised as its finest creations, this beautiful Bentley Continental among them.

As one of only 23 RHD 4 door S2 Continentals by James Young, ‘JAS 767’ is an already rare proposition. Originally ordered by a John Rogerson Esq, but due to cancelling his order, chassis number BC26BY was built to the specification of Greek Businessman C H Dracoulis. Ordered in ‘Glasso Green’ paintwork with contrasting beige leather interior featuring walnut veneer, the additional specification included electric front windows, electric aerial, private lock to left front hand door and door switch for flashing hand lights. Furthermore, the column levers were instructed to be covered in black leather and a reading light fitted to the rear quarter. The total build cost amounted to £7,876, nearly three times the average house price in the UK at that time. After postponing his order due to residing in Greece, the vehicle was eventually delivered new in 1961 to a W Turner Esq.

Acquired by its current custodian in April of 2005, ‘JAS 767’ has become somewhat of a ‘veteran’ of numerous BDC and RREC international tours and rallies, with all completed without problems and covering some 35,000 miles. Foreign trips include numerous European tours between 2005 and 2008 including a wedding in Copenhagen; in 2009 the ‘Arabian Gulf Adventure’, where the car was flown and toured Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Dubai. The Northern Italian lakes were toured in 2011 before the car was flown once more, but this time to the USA, where it toured the north-west and Canada, covering some 2,750 miles in 2013. Between 2014 to 2016 'JAS 767' saw further European trips, before again being air freighted to the US in 2017, for a south-eastern tour of some 2,400 miles. Most recently, ‘JAS 767’ toured Sweden (in 2018).

As well as numerous international tours, the Continental has been subject to much expenditure during the current ownership, totaling over £76,000 to the present day. Within this expenditure, over £41,000 was spent in the first two years of ownership on a complete engine, steering, brake and exhaust overhaul. In addition, an air conditioning unit was fitted under the existing facia; entirely removable. Over the following 13 years, a further £33,000 was spent, with the expenditure well documented, with hand-written notes in the history file, specifying the dates each piece of work was completed. 'JAS 767' comes accompanied with its original tool kit and spare wheel, as well as a comprehensive folder containing photocopied records of the build, a number of previous invoices, MOTs, tax discs, hand-written notes containing mileages at MOTs and expenditure, and finally the V5 document.

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