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More Radford cars in this book:
Rossfeldt Book

Car of the Month - March 2000
Bentley S1, 1958, #B403FD,
Countryman adaptions by Harold Radford


Bentley S1, Radford Countryman

Harold Radford decided to enter the coachbuilding trade during the period of the early post-war period, i.e. during a time, when independent coachbuilders were hit by fading demand. His first designs based on pre-war utilities and general purpose vans as used during wartime were translated into reality by coachbuilders Seary & McReady on Bentley Mark VI chassis. Within a few years Harold Radford had a controlling interest in Seary & McReady and the company was relocated from Southgate to Ealing and the name was changed to Harold Radford (Coachbuilders) Ltd. Hence this company was responsible for all the later creations on chassis Bentley Mark VI, Bentley R- and Bentley S-series as well as bodies on the sister models with the square radiator. The name of Harold Radford quickly became synonymous with quality coachwork and luxurious interior appointments. From 1951 until 1963 Radford had his own stand in the Coachbuilding Section of the London Motor Show and the company was awarded a bronze medal in 1952 and no less than nine (!) silver medals during the following years. However there was the fact that bodies built in the traditional way by skilled craftsmen were almost prohibitively expensive at some 50 to 60 % above the price of a standard body ex factory.

Bentley S1, Radford Countryman

The 1958 Bentley S1, chassis number #B403FD, is an example of Harold Radford's attempts to avoid the "cost-trap" by clever rationalizing. He offered "Countryman adaptations" without expensive alterations to the outward appearance of the car. A raised bootlid did improve the capacity of the luggage compartment and a most convenient addition were split folding rear seats which allowed to stow even bulky luggage.

Bentley S1, Radford Countryman, InteriorFrom the vast range of over 40 luxury optional extras as offered in Radford's brochure quite a few had been selected for this particular car including picnic tables enhanced by cup-holders, cigar-humidor and writing table in the rear armrest plus cabinets with various uses behind the front seats, drinks cabinet and accessories as well as large lockers in the front doors for various purposes. Redesigned front seats with reclining squabs provided to convert seats to a bed. Harold Radford maintained he had been the first to be allowed by Rolls-Royce to fit 'Webasto' sunroofs. Two small toadstool cushions which screwed into the rear overriders plus a special picnic table to be fitted to the car's boot enabled to celebrate a picnic in style.

 

Bentley S1, Radford Countryman


Bentley S1, Radford CountrymanThis Bentley S1 Harold Radford Countryman has found its way to the shores the other side of the Atlantic and whenever showing up for example at a meeting, it does offer American onlookers a chance to comment on English eccentricity..

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