Arizona

19-20 January 2017

Offered from a Private Collection

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Lot 244

1965 Bentley S3 Continental Drophead Coupe by Mulliner Park Ward

  • Chassis no. BC176XC

Sold for $167,750


Est. 230 bhp, 6,230 cc OHV V-8 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel servo-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 127 in.

  • Offered from a private collection
  • One of only 76 examples built
  • The most modern styling on the S3 Continental chassis
  • Older restoration by Charles Agapiou


Described by The Autocar as “[a] new stage in the evolution of the post-war Bentley,” the magnificent Continental sports saloon became synonymous with effortless high-speed cruising in the grand manner after its introduction on the R-Type chassis in 1952. With the arrival of the final (S-Type) generation of six-cylinder cars in 1955, the Continental lost a little of its individuality but none of its exclusivity, and this trend continued after the arrival of the V-8-engined S2 in 1959. Although the S2 appeared externally unchanged, its performance was considerably enhanced by the new 6,230-cubic centimeter aluminum-alloy V-8 engine. Power-assisted steering was now standard and there was no longer the option of a manual gearbox, Rolls-Royce’s own four-speed automatic transmission being the sole offering. The striking Continental also gained a drophead coupe model, 15 of which were constructed by coachbuilder H.J. Mulliner.
The S3, introduced in 1962, brought subtly updated styling on the standard sedans, quad headlamps, and less prominent bumper guards. The sidelamps and directionals moved from their classic perch atop the fenders to the leading edge.

The Continental’s changes were less pronounced, in many respects. The Bentley Continental was, of course, exclusively a coachbuilt automobile. The firms of H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward, and James Young all offered bodies on the Continental S2 chassis, which differed from the standard version by virtue of its four-leading-shoe front brakes, shorter radiator, and, up to chassis number BC99BY, higher gearing. By far the most striking of the S2 Continentals were those bodied by Rolls-Royce’s in-house coachbuilder Park Ward, and this design by Norwegian Vilhelm Koren, with its influential continuous front-to-rear fender line, would continue on the Continental S3. Quad headlamps were the S3’s major styling innovation, and on the Mulliner Park Ward-bodied Continental they were contained in slanting nacelles, which generated some controversy.

Bentley S3 Continental chassis number BC176XC is one of just 76 drophead coupes bodied by H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd. after the two firms merged. A right-hand-drive example, it was previously owned by Gregory Gill, president of Los Angeles realty giant Matlow-Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy sold it to John I. Lichfield in 1990. The car was then restored by Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialists Charles Agapiou, Ltd., of West Hollywood in 1995. It was repainted and the interior was reupholstered in beige Connolly leather with deep red piping matching the Regal Red exterior. The engine, transmission, and brakes were overhauled at this time as well. Although now older, the restoration has held up well and the paint and brightwork show only minor flaws; the seats, while exhibiting use, show no significant wear and tear. The odometer shows fewer than 20,000 miles. Cockpit equipment includes a Kenwood cassette stereo radio.

A wonderful grand tourer, this S3 Continental has many luxurious road miles ahead for its next proud caretaker.

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

+1 310 559 4575
California, 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

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... 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