1960 Bentley S2Drophead Coupe
Year of manufacture1960
- One of just 15 S2 Drophead Coupés fitted with H.J. Mulliner coachwork; the first of only seven such examples in left-hand drive
- Displayed at the 1960 New York International Auto Show
- More than $83,000 spent on a cosmetic and mechanical overhaul at Vantage Motorworks in 2021
- Beautifully restored in Acrylic White over Tan
Entering production in 1959, the Bentley S2 and its Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II sister model represented a significant leap in both performance and refinement for the great British marques. Replacing the ageing 4.9-litre straight-six of the earlier generation, each model benefitted from the addition of the all-new L-Series V-8 engine, an all-aluminium 6,230-cc design that brought not only the power necessary for all its luxury appointments but also a respectable turn of pace.
One of the firm’s most successful models, a total of 1,863 Bentley S2s were produced by the time production drew to a close in 1962—virtually all of which were fitted with standard factory bodywork. Just 15 examples benefitted from the beautifully proportioned and hugely expensive Drophead Coupé coachwork of H.J. Mulliner & Co., Ltd. Of those special cars, just seven would be configured in left-hand-drive, the first of which is presented here: chassis B75LBR.
As one would expect for the first in a line of limited production automobiles, chassis B75LBR was built with promotional purposes in mind and was designated for display at the 1960 New York International Auto Show. This glamorous early history is noted on the car’s factory build sheet, which also details its original colour combination of two-tone Sand over Sable coachwork with a Tan interior and sharp whitewall tyres. Further options included a electrically operated windows and convertible roof, a longer brake pedal, a radio, and a four-piece fitted luggage set.
Delivered new through J.S. Inskip—the New York Bentley and Rolls-Royce distributor—chassis B75LBR was shipped from London to New York via the SS Alsatia in March of 1960 in time for its starring appearance at the New York International Auto Show. The car was subsequently delivered to its first owner, New York-based Wall Street securities analyst George P. Edgar, in late April. Edgar’s obituary in the New York Times suggests a colourful personality, having emigrated from Tblisi, in present-day Georgia, to the United States at a young age, and going on to obtain a masters degree in economics at Columbia University. Not only was he successful in his professional life, he was also a committed supporter of New York theatre.
Bentley’s records show that the S2 moved westward with its second owner, Danny Howard of Tarzana, California, who is understood to have kept the Bentley until 1995, when it was sold to Richard Gilleland, also of southern California. The car passed through the hands of at least one other owner before being acquired by the consigning seller via Vantage Motorworks of Miami, Florida in 2021. The Bentley was serviced by the dealership prior to sale, which included rectifying a number of cosmetic and mechanical issues, ranging from the fabrication of new door panels and the removal of aftermarket speakers to re-trimming the boot and re-charging the air conditioning system. The engine bay was refreshed, while all four shock absorbers, the brake master cylinders, and fuel pump were all replaced, alongside an overhaul of the brake servo and the fitting of a new stainless steel exhaust system. The sum total of this work amounted to more than $83,000, with invoices available to view on file.
Less than 100 miles has been covered since remedial works and servicing at Vantage Motorworks, and the Bentley remains in excellent condition. A rare example of a post-war, coachbuilt Bentley, these strikingly attractive H.J. Mulliner S2 Drophead Coupés are seldom seen and much sought-after, and would make a fine addition to any collection of significant British motorcars. To view this car and others currently available, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/home/private-treaty-sales/.