1959 Bentley S1Continental 'Flying Spur' Sports Saloon
Year of manufacture1959
$280,000 - $340,000
- Showcased at the 1959 New York Auto Show
- One of just three “four-light” left-hand-drive Flying Spurs
- Original engine, gearbox, and coachwork, as documented by factory build sheets
- One of the most important Bentley designs of its era
With their stylish designs and smart custom coachwork, the Bentley S1 Continental contrasted strongly with the company’s standard steel saloons of the late 1950s. While the chassis and engine were virtually identical between the two models, the Continental boasted a 2.923:1 rear axle, allowing the big six-cylinder engine, with its 8.0:1 compression ratio, to propel the car to sustained high speeds over long distances with incredible ease.
Among the most elegant and noteworthy coachbuilt bodies available on this chassis was H.J. Mulliner’s sports saloon, nicknamed “Flying Spur” after the heraldic device of one of Mulliner’s managing directors. With its smooth, flowing lines and sporty close-coupled styling, it was a predecessor of the popular four-door coupes built by modern luxury car manufacturers. For obvious reasons it is considered among the most desirable S1 Continentals to be found today.
The S1 Continental Flying Spur was available in two models, with either four or six side windows; the four-window or “four-light” variant, style number 7443/B, was the rarest. Offered here, chassis number BC41LFM is one of ten such examples, with only three built in left-hand drive.
According to documentation obtained from the Rolls-Royce Foundation, this sports saloon was used by the factory as their 1959 New York Auto Show car. It was then delivered through famous New York dealer J.S. Inskip to Vincent Shea, a prominent Manhattanite who, along with his wife Madeline, was a frequent Rolls-Royce and Bentley customer for many years. Copies of the original build information record the car’s fascinating original specifications, which include an amusing handwritten request for “anti-hobo door locks.”
Invoices on file dated from 2011 show extensive mechanical and cosmetic freshening by British Bentley specialists Padgett Motor Engineers. The car’s paintwork and brightwork were well detailed, and its mechanical restoration included the installation of new suspension, braking, steering, and cooling systems, as well as a new exhaust silencer. Service work was performed on the gearbox, fuel, ignition, and electrical systems, new belts and tires were installed, and a tune-up and final adjustments were performed. Post-completion, the Flying Spur was sold to the current owner, who has carefully maintained the Bentley with invoices on file.
This highly desirable and rare alloy-bodied Bentley Flying Spur, which is well prepared and backed up by factory documentation, will certainly provide a winning bidder with the enormous pride of ownership that only comes with owning one of the first post-war British grand tourers.To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mo19.