Main Index


Each Model
ever built

Special Cars...

Bentley S2 LWB, LHD, #LLBA9
Wendler Shooting Brake

The majority of all Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars from the sixties sported standard coachwork ex factory. Coachbuilt motor cars were of somewhat special status, usually representing highlights of coachbuilder's art as regards design and craftmanship. Even when contemplating that beauty is much in the eye of the beholder there cannot be much doubt that a Bentley S2 with shooting brake body to a Mercedes-Benz design will rarely ever be awarded a trophy during a Concours d'Elegance.

Bentley S2 LWB LHD, #LLBA9

However the story of this motor car is as unique as its appearance and the order for this car being placed with the German coachbuilder Wendler of Reutlingen for the owner was but consequently following a tradition.

Mercedes Benz 300S - Shooting Brake Conversion by Wendler

The Bentley S2 had had a predecessor in the form of a Mercedes-Benz 300S. This model had not been available with a shooting brake body from the company. Acting as an agent for a client who insisted his name not to be mentioned was a certain Mr. E.E. Endt from New York who ordered a Mercedes-Benz 300S to be bodied by Wendler. Paintwork in "fishsilver-metallic" and "orange-red" coloured leather upholstery was specified - and of course a body in the form of a five door shooting brake. Curiously enough, this car is not to be found in the list of special bodies by Wendler which has been compiled several years ago - though long after the coachbuilder had decided to throw away all their old documents before moving to new premises...

As regards the 1960 Bentley S2, #LLBA9, but very few documents do exist at Wendler's and a few more are part of the Rolls-Royce files now in the custody of the RREC. The client's name again didn't appear. Instead his agent E.E. Endt ordered from the New York dealer J.S. Inskip a Bentley S2 chassis with long wheelbase and left hand drive to be delivered to Wendler of Reutlingen. Of 57 lwb Bentley S2 there were but 6 fitted with bodies by independent coachbuilders - and this one was the only lhd example.

Bentley S2 LWB LHD, #LLBA9

Erhard Wendler had started coachbuilding in Reutlingen in 1840. The business remained in the family which only after the Great War decided to start building bodies for motor cars. The company satisfied their customers' demands. Their products were including lorries and cattle transporters and coachwork of finest quality on such renowned chassis as Benz, Maybach - and one Bentley 3 Litre. An outstanding product being an armoured Cadillac to the order of H.M. The King Ibn Saud.

The order for the Bentley S2 was detailed asking for white wall tyres by Firestone, "Made in England" origin sign, big dimensioned brake pedal, specially loud horns and several minor extras. Because a special type of headlamps was asked for and the headlamps usually were integrated into the front wings, Rolls-Royce added a wooden crate containing two front wings complete with headlamps, when the car was shipped to the continent.

Bentley S2 LWB LHD, #LLBA9

Wendler strictly did obey the order of their somewhat eccentric customer who had made it quite clear that the coachwork had to be almost identical to that of the current, only recently introduced Mercedes-Benz 300 SE - characteristic for its tailfins. Hence there was no chance for Wendler to make use of the original front wings; which Rolls-Royce had charged and delivered. In their place very long and high front wings to the muster of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE were tailored exactly to the Bentley engine's and front's length. Mercedes-Benz twin headlamps to US-specification were fitted. Paintwork was exactly as with the previous Mercedes-Benz 300 S in "fishsilver-metallic" and again "orange-red" leather was used for the upholstery. The interior showed combination of Bentley elements and some which clearly were of Mercedes-Benz origin. The instruments which usually are arranged in the S2 facia's centre were positioned to the left side with the speedometer in front of the driver. All knobs and door handles appear to be Mercedes-Benz; which in fact is not correct - they were all made as one-offs to Mercedes-Benz designs. To round off the rather brute teutonic look of the interior the facia was ordered in massive oak and not walnut veneered...

Bentley S2 LWB LHD, #LLBA9

Despite the very unusual appearance it cannot be denied though that this special motor car at that time amalgamated the finest from both worlds: the solid chassis of the Bentley S2 with its enormous strength and the new powerful V8-engine were united with a body and an interior by the then finest German coachbuilder. It is somewhat strange but true that any Mercedes-Benz aficionado as well as any Bentley enthusiast feels immediately well at home once behind the steering wheel of this automobile. A fine advantage is that the rear light can be lowered into the back door and an almost staggering amount of space is offered when the rear seats are folded flat. Wendler had dealt with the problem of the coachwork being originally of monocoque construction by welding in a lot of strengthening devices. This resulted in the coachwork becoming rather heavy which didn't bother the owner. The engine with its 6,230 ccm capacity delivered more than sufficient power.

The Bentley was tested extensively registered with German oval custom's plates reading 254 Z-609 before she crossed the Atlantic ocean. Then she was used for some time in Virginia/USA, though it was registered in the name of someone who gave as his address the New York Yacht Club. After the demise of the gentleman who had fulfilled his wish for dream car in such a special way the car was given to an American museum - again no name mentioned with the executor's explanation that this was due to the owner's last will's instructions. Some time later the car was sold again and then used in Europe for several years - maintenance bills and ferry tickets were sent to a Paris address.

Bentley S2 LWB LHD, #LLBA9The mileage had not exceeded 37.000 miles when the Bentley S2 became the property of collector in Florida - who happened to own the mate too, the still existing Mercedes-Benz 300 S bodied by Wendler for the same client. The new owner was keen to collect as much information as regards this unique pair of motor cars as possible. He felt rather sure even to be able to find out the name of the original owner because both cars showed stripes in red and blue applied to their front doors. Alas, these were not matching to any of the race colours which ever had been found on yachts of members of the New York Yacht Club. Almost unbelievable was the information that in the late Eighties both cars were owned by a collector in New York again!

With the exception of hints as regards the original owner of the car (which are not verified) there remains but to resume that a well-heeled eccentric has been in position to fulfill his wishes for a dream-car: a Bentley-based Mercedes-Benz.

All photos courtesy of deWayne G. Richey, III, U.S.A.


Back to "Highlights"-Page

Top of page

(©) Copyright 1997-2013 K.-J. Roßfeldt / Information on this site is for viewing and personal information only. Information and photos are protected by copyright. Any unauthorized use or reproduction of material from this site without written permission is strictly prohibited. Infringement of copyright will rise to both civil law remedies and criminal penalties.
Comments and support to: archives webmaster          Url: