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Car of the Month

More on Bentley in these books:

Hull: Inside the Rolls-Royce and Bentley Styling Department 



Car of the Month - May 2019
Bentley S2, 1960, #B318AM
Sports Saloon

Bentley S2

2019 is the year to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the launch of Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2. In autumn 1959 the English car manufacturer had introduced the new models. The production figure of Bentley S2 – produced from 1959 until 1963, ran to 2308 units – 57 of these were delivered with long wheelbase. A microscopic small number only were bodied by one from the few coachbuilders which had survived. Sales figures indicate clearly: In the form offered ex-factory the S2 did fulfil the demands of the Bentley-clientele perfectly well. Hence the lion’s share from the production of that model were "Sports Saloons" made as complete motor cars at the factory at Crewe. 

Bentley S2

The car was propelled by a newly developed V8-engine of 6¼ litres capacity. Made almost entirely from light allow the V8 offered considerably more bhp than the 4.9-litre six-cylinder in-line-engine of the predecessor with but negligible weight-penalty. It was no risky action to combine this power-unit with the proven automatic gearbox (a 'Hydramatic' made under license from General Motors). The designers had opted to prefer brake-drums all round with a gearbox-driven brake servo rather than to install disc brakes. As regards the cars technical components obviously robust and well-proven units had been selected.

The interior and the lines of the body were almost identical to that of the pre-decessor which had been the brainchild of John Polwhele Blatchley. The head of design had been keen to amalgamate discreet luxury and timeless elegance. A considerable number of other motor car manufacturers towards the end of the 50ies had already arranged for a turn-around and offered cars with monocoque chassis. Rolls-Royce however decided on the traditional layout of a box-section frame onto which a separate body was fixed. That was a solid basis and over a long period impressively resistant to corrosion.

Bentley S2

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If after decades have passed perhaps certain repair or restoration might become necessary certain risks are avoided which are nightmares as regards monocoque chassis. No guarantee though there couldn't be nasty surprises during restoration of a Bentley S2. However cars that haven’t experienced lack of service and were kept properly usually present themselves in fine condition. Certainly that is the case as regards this ‘early’ Bentley S2 (the first chassis-series of the new model had chassis-numbers ending on letter-combinations 'AA' or  'AM'). Doors as well as bonnet and bootlid were made from aluminium – and that in combination with the light-alloy V8-engine did help to achieve a fairly low overall weight of slightly less than 2 tons for the big car.

From every angle the coachwork looks incredibly elegant and well balanced. Many collectors do believe this creation has the status "Iconic Design".

Bentley S2

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