"The Bentley 'S' Series is a very attractive car with superb lines, appearance and finish. It costs a lot of money, but to the connoisseur who must have the best it is worth every penny. It is schemed to require the very minimum of attention over large mileages, but it has the famed Rolls-Royce service behind it when any attention is required. This will still be a glorious car in 45 years' time, just as my own 1911 Silver Ghost is today." - John Bolster, Autosport, 1956.
Conceived as replacements for the ageing Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn and Bentley R-Type, the all-new Silver Cloud and Bentley S-Series were introduced early in 1955. The duo sported sleeker bodywork on a new box-section separate chassis - Rolls-Royce eschewing unitary construction for the time being - incorporating improved brakes and suspension, the latter featuring electrically controlled damping. Essentially the two cars were the same except for their radiator grilles, bonnets, mascots, instruments, and wheel covers.
Enlargement to 4,887cc and the adoption of a six-port cylinder head boosted the traditionally undisclosed power output of the dependable inlet-over-exhaust six-cylinder engine, which for the first time was identical in specification in its Rolls and Bentley forms. Automatic transmission was now standard equipment, with manual transmission a Bentley-only option up to 1957. Fast - 100mph-plus - relatively economical and cheaper to maintain than the successor V8-engined versions, the classically elegant 'S1' is arguably the most user-friendly of all post-war Bentleys.
Chassis number 'B55CM' was first registered on 16th July 1956 as 'LCX 834'. In 1976 the Bentley was exported to the USA, remaining there until 1990 when it returned to the UK and was registered as '18 YRR'. On 4th March 1998 the DVLA agreed to transfer the registration from '18 YRR' to 'XFO 129'.
A comprehensive engine and bodywork restoration was undertaken in 1997/1998, including fitting hardened valves and valve seats to facilitate the use of lead-free petrol, while the badging was changed from 'Bentley' to 'Rolls-Royce'. An MoT certificate dated 3rd June 1998 records the mileage then as 32,334. The current odometer reading is 38,022 miles. Comprehensive details of the restoration, including bills and photographs, are available in the file.