1957 Bentley S1 Continental Fastback Sports Saloon by H.J. Mulliner
Amelia Island - A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith
- 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.