Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith

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Lot 123

1956 Bentley S1 Continental Drophead Coupe by Park Ward

  • Chassis no. BC22LBG
  • Engine no. BC21B

Sold for $1,683,000


Body Style 700. Est. 178 bhp, 4,887 cc F-head inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and vacuum-assisted four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 123 in.

  • One of just 31 left-hand-drive examples built of this most desirable design
  • Numbers-matching original engine
  • Delivered new to American banker and socialite Edwin Jay Gould
  • Only two registered owners; retained by its original owner until 1993
  • High-quality restoration by marque specialists Vantage Motorworks
  • Complete with both original tool sets and even original keys
  • An exceptional example in every regard


Chassis number BC22LBG is the most desirable catalogued S1 Continental body style, the drophead coupe by Park Ward. Unlike the majority of Bentley convertibles during this era, this style was not an “adaptation” from factory design stampings, but rather a fully custom body, built from the ground up by Park Ward’s craftsmen, handcrafted in aluminum. It is distinguished by smooth, subtle body lines, with the long, fully “flow through” fenders that flow from the front to the rear “hips,” and rear fenders that kick up slightly to form tiny tailfins.

Park Ward built this design on only 31 left-hand-drive S1 Continental chassis, and the survivors are among the most fiercely prized of all post-war Bentleys.

The car offeredƒre was ordered by Edwin Jay Gould, great-grandson of railroad tycoon Jay Gould, and later to become a prominent New York real estate investor and socialite in his own right, who distinguished himself as a sportsman and conservationist. Only 25 at the time that he took delivery of his Bentley, Mr. Gould specified the car with sealed-beam headlamps, special fender lights, and Windtone horns, as well as the usual U.S. features, including a speedometer in miles-per-hour.

Mr. Gould’s Bentley was delivered into his care at Rose Hill Plantation in Bluffton, South Carolina, his mother’s estate. Interestingly, the Rolls-Royce Phantom II Croydon Convertible Coupe and Newport Town Car also on offer this weekend were owned by Mr. and Mrs. Gould; thus, we have the unusual and coincidental good fortune to offer three automobiles that were once owned by the same family – father, mother, and in this case, son.

The S1 Continental remained with Mr. Gould, its original owner, until his passing in 1993. It was in solid and original condition, with just over 40,000 actual miles recorded, and was titled in Palm Beach, Florida, to which it had relocated in 1990. Well-known Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist Richard Gorman was successful in acquiring the car from the estate, and his respected Vantage Motorworks of Miami proceeded to give it a sympathetic restoration. An attractive livery of Gunmetal Grey over Mason’s Black, with Dove Grey Connolly leather interior piped in black and an English mohair top, was chosen. While the car is believed to have changed hands twice since, Mr. Smith was only the second private owner to title the car, in 2010, and therefore is its second registered owner.

As part of upgrades and improvements to the restoration in 2008, Vantage installed one of their well-known, period factory-style air conditioning conversions, making the car more suitable for enthusiastic year-round use under the Florida sun. The car retains “purdah” glass sun visors, as-original, as well as a later, period-correct radio. Importantly, at the time of cataloguing, the splendid, immaculate restoration had recorded 50,511 miles – still actual mileage, and accounting for about 10,000 miles of enjoyment in Mr. Smith’s caring hands.

Accompanying the Bentley today are the original and complete sets of road and hand tools, with the hand tool tray featuring the extremely rare and desirable “Kismet” tire gauge with its original paper wrapping; the original set of keys with codes engraved; an original owner’s handbook; and documentation of its long-term care by the original owner.

The offering of a correct and proper, original left-hand-drive S1 Continental drophead coupe is a great and wonderful rarity. Few, however, have such a pristine history, fine equipment, and splendid, well-sorted restoration as this low-mileage example. It is an exceptional automobile, owned and treasured since new by exceptional men.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

Cameron Smyth

csmyth@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 212 894 1981
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more