14th Jun, 2023 13:00

Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire

 
  Lot 108
 

1960 Bentley S2 Continental H.J. Mulliner Coupe
One-off design, built for Capt. R.G. McLeod

Estimated at £170,000 - £220,000

Lot details

Registration No: DBB 993B
Chassis No: BC106AR
MOT: April 2024

  • One of the famous 'McLeod Bentleys'
  • Special, one-off body designed by H.J. Mulliner
  • Truncated boot was a feature of all Capt. R.G. McLeod's cars
  • Design adaptions carried out by FLM Panelcraft for H.J. Mulliner
  • Full restoration by Jack Barclay in the 1970s
  • Accompanied by an impressively detailed history file
  • Just one previous keeper recorded on the V5, current keeper since 1978

The Bentley S2 Continental was introduced in July of 1959 and proudly displayed at the London Motor Show two months later. It was outwardly indistinguishable from the S1 aside a very slightly shorter radiator, and minor changes to the front flasher and sidelight assemblies, and the bumper over-riders. The key upgrade lay under the lengthy, centrally hinged bonnet, where a new all-alloy OHV V8 engine of 6,230cc sat in place of the former six-cylinder unit. It had been developed over five years and, despite the significant increase in cubic capacity, was no heavier than the cast iron unit it replaced. As usual, the manufacturer declined to quote output figures, but suffice to say that performance was markedly improved, and the newcomer could waft its cosseted occupants to 60mph in around 10.9 seconds and on to a terminal speed in excess of 110mph.

Gone was the one-shot lubrication system that had been part of every Bentley's specification since 1933 - in its place were 21 grease nipples and extended service intervals. The interior featured a slimmer, altogether smaller steering wheel, a 120mph speedometer and air louvres below the windscreen. The extraordinary standard of exterior finish, for which the model was renowned, remained completely unaltered, however, with each body receiving up to 14 coats of paint, plus a high degree of hand finishing. The Continental version sported a slightly higher rear axle ratio, wider tyres and front brakes with four shoes per drum, in deference to the higher speeds at which these models were normally driven. H.J. Mulliner and Park Ward together constructed some 346 S2 Continental bodies, while James Young, Hooper, Graber and Franay accounted for a further 30 or so. The S2 gave way to the quad-headlamp S3 model in October, 1962.

The iconic fastback styling that H.J. Mulliner had wrought for the R-Type and S-Type Continentals was looking a little dated by 1959. Nevertheless, the Chiswick-based concern remained the coachbuilder of choice for the S2 Continental and their two-door Sports Saloon (design number 7514) has long since been acknowledged as a classic; Martin Bennett referring to it as 'outstandingly beautiful' and 'arguably the best looking of all Bentley Continentals' in his book 'Bentley Continental, Corniche & Azure'. Punctuated by a 'Flying B' - topped radiator grille, subtle swage line detailing and notably airy glasshouse (incorporating wraparound front / rear windscreens), the singularly elegant silhouette that H.J. Mulliner bestowed upon its newcomer also fulfilled customers' requests for increased luggage space. Predictably exclusive and expensive, just 71 right-hand drive Bentley S2 Continental chassis were bodied to design number 7514.

Offered for public sale for the first time since 1978 is a remarkable Bentley S2 Continental H.J. Mulliner Coupe chassis BC106AR, with a fascinating history that spans several decades. Originally delivered in June 1960 by the esteemed London dealer Jack Barclay to its first owner, Capt. R.G. McLeod, this Bentley holds a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts within the Bentley Drivers Club (BDC) and Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts' Club (RREC). This particular Bentley S2 Continental was a one-off creation based on the popular design number 7514. Capt. McLeod, who had previously ordered six Bentleys from Bentley Motors over a span of thirty years, desired a unique touch for his new acquisition. He specifically requested minimal overhangs at the rear, which necessitated a comprehensive redesign of the boot and rear wings. As H.J. Mulliner was operating at full capacity at the time, the task of implementing these modifications fell to FLM Panelcraft Ltd. The end result was a beautifully customized vehicle that left its satisfied owner beaming. Throughout its existence, it is believed that this Bentley has had just a handful of owners. The previous registered keeper, who owned the vehicle from at least the early Seventies, entrusted it to the skilled hands of Jack Barclay London in 1973/1974 for a full restoration and some additional modifications. The Bentley was then sold to its current keeper by the Clarendon Carriage Co. Ltd. in October 1978. A very detailed is History File with a sheaf of invoices from the early Seventies to the late Eighties is included, as well as a collection of MOT certificates dating back to 1978, providing a glimpse into the car's well-documented past. In 1989, the Bentley was laid up in a garage, remaining stored away, shielded from the passage of time until its recent re-emergence. Although the vehicle underwent some light recommissioning in recent times, it has retained much of its original allure and character. With its history, rarity, and meticulous care, this Bentley S2 Continental H.J. Mulliner Coupe presents a unique opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts alike to acquire a truly exceptional automobile that epitomizes timeless elegance and British craftsmanship.

For more information, please contact:
Julian Pinkster
julian.pinkster@handh.co.uk
07889 223 904

 

Auction: Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 14th Jun, 2023

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Tuesday 13th June 2023 from 12pm to 6pm
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