Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

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

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Lot 115

1957 Bentley S1 Continental Fastback Sports Saloon by H.J. Mulliner

  • Chassis no. BC96LBG
  • Engine no. BC95B
  • Body no. 5972

Sold for $781,000


Body Style 7400. 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.

  • An iconic design; ultra-rare, with only 22 left-hand-drive examples built
  • Numbers-matching original engine
  • The lightest and most sporting performance coachwork for the S1 Continental
  • Authentic restoration, beautifully detailed
  • Offered with complete sets of road and hand tools
  • The S1 Continental for the true sportsman, at its finest


Arguably the most sought-after coachwork on the Bentley S1 Continental chassis, H.J. Mulliner’s handsome fastback sports saloon was the modern evolution of and successor to their original iconic design on the R-Type Continental. Specifically designed and constructed to be light in weight, as before utilizing alloy panels of aluminum and magnesium, it ensured maximum performance from the chassis beneath and was frequently requested by sporting gentlemen and ladies, the types who would have owned a “W.O.” Bentley back in the 1930s.

The car offered here, chassis number BC96LBG, is one of only 22 left-hand-drive cars built to the Mulliner fastback sports saloon design, and as a relatively late-production example benefits from the upgraded engine with larger valves and a larger carburetor, for more power. Records indicate that it was delivered on 18 April 1957, to original owner William Brewster, of Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

An heir to the Standard Oil fortune, Brewster was an automobile enthusiast in the truest sense of the term, as both an early collector of fine cars and a connoisseur of the best of modern technology. His stable included not only modern Rolls and Bentley, but also classic examples of both marques and some of the finest Duesenbergs. It was in typical fashion that he specified every detail of his new S1 Continental, laying out a roster of special features that included power steering, a steering column two inches longer than standard, fog lights with white bulbs, both summer and winter thermostats, reclining front seats, and dual horns. Requests were made to supply a Lucas electric rear windshield washer and a Blue Spot radio, both by Mr. Brewster’s specific request.

Yet, Mr. Brewster did not keep his specially ordered Bentley for even a year; on 27 April 1957, it passed to the second owner, Gregory B. Smith. Mr. Smith retained the car for over two decades, selling it in October of 1977 to the well-known Rolls-Royce and Bentley collector Samuel Ornstein of Edison, New Jersey. Richard Thomas of Parsimony, New Jersey, purchased the S1 Continental in 1993, subsequently passing it to well-known Florida collector, Steven Wolf, from whom its purchase was eventually made by Orin Smith.

The Bentley was restored in its present elegant Saffron over Sandstone livery during Mr. Ornstein’s ownership, with consistent and obvious maintenance since. It is rare to find an automobile that has won Rolls-Royce Owners Club (RROC) National First Prizes in both 1979 and 2000, with the same restoration, but such is the case with this impeccably maintained car, the finish of which remains fine, both inside and out. Mr. Wolf had the interior of the car freshly restored in 2006, with mouton rug overlays in the floors, in time for appearances at both the Palm Beach and Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2007, winning first prizes at both events. Correct General Electric headlamps and Lucas fog lamps are both fitted, and the engine bay remains, in authority Diane Brandon’s first-hand examination, “spot-on correct.”

Vantage Motorworks fitted the car with one of its excellent high-capacity air conditioning systems, which is very nicely installed in period style and looks right at home within the original 1957 interior.

The car is offered with both complete sets of road and hand tools, tidily fitted, including the inspection lamp under the bonnet, and a correct S-Type handbook.

An excellent and high-quality example of the most desirable, sporting S1 Continental body style, this car is true to the Continental name: a beautiful and powerful gentleman’s carriage for crossing great distances, at high speed, in cosseting comfort. At the other end of the journey may be a seaside resort or a concours field . . . all at the discretion of a new owner.

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

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

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