The property of Ron Moody 1961 Bentley Continental Drophead Coupé Coachwork by Park Ward Ltd Registration no. 301 HYT Chassis no. BC6CZ Engine no. C6BC
Described by The Autocar as, 'A new stage in the evolution of the post-war Bentley,' the magnificent Continental sports saloon has been synonymous with effortless high speed cruising in the grand manner since its introduction on the R-Type chassis in 1952. With the arrival in 1955 of the final generation of six-cylinder cars, the all-new Silver Cloud and Bentley S-Type, the Continental lost some of its individuality but none of its exclusivity. Dependable though it had proved, Rolls-Royce's six-cylinder engine was nearing the end of its development. At the same time the company was facing increased competition from faster rivals in the vital United States market, and it was, principally, these two factors that prompted the switch to V8 power as the 1960s approached.
Introduced in the autumn of 1959, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2 appeared externally unchanged from their Silver Cloud and S-Type predecessors, though their performance was considerably enhanced by the new 6,230cc aluminium-alloy engine. 'The Bentley S2, with its sister Rolls-Royce models, gives high-speed travel in silence and luxury, while the driver and passengers enjoy the sense of well being that only British craftsmanship can give. The V8 engine, with its flashing acceleration, certainly contributes to the result and is a definite step forward in Rolls-Royce technique,' enthused Autosport. There were few significant changes to the running gear, though power-assisted steering was now standard and the manual gearbox had been dropped, Rolls-Royce's own four-speed automatic transmission being the sole offering.
The Continental version of the Bentley remained, as ever, exclusively a coachbuilt car. The firms of H J Mulliner, Park Ward, James Young and Hooper (with a solitary example) all offered bodies on the Continental S2 chassis, which differed from the standard version by virtue of its four-leading-shoe front brakes, shorter radiator and, up to chassis number 'BC99BY', higher gearing. Of these four, James Young and Hooper would soon cease coachbuilding, leaving only Mulliner and Park Ward to carry on a noble tradition.
This S2 Continental is offered for sale by actor and Bentley Drivers' Club member Ron Moody, who is best known for his Academy Award-nominated performance as Fagin in the 1967 film musical 'Oliver!' Although he did not win the Oscar, Ron nevertheless received several international 'best actor' awards including the Hollywood Golden Globe, Variety Club Film Award, Premier San Jurge and Moscow Golden Bear. Ron Moody has enjoyed an extraordinarily varied and successful stage, screen and television career on both sides of the Atlantic. Now aged 90, he is a member of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and in 1984 won the World Theatre Award for the most outstanding Broadway debut, for yet another production of 'Oliver!' He has also written and composed five musicals and is the author of three novels.
The car offered here, 'BC6CZ', is an early example of Park Ward's influential 'straight through wing' body style. It was ordered by a Mr Giulio Trapani of Maidenhead, Berkshire and by mid-1966 was in the hands of its fifth owner. Ron Moody purchased the Bentley via H R Owen in March 1968 (bill of sale on file). The Continental was looked after by Rolls-Royce during its early life with Ron and then by Hadley Green Garage. After an accident in the late 1970s the car was extensively restored (estimates and bills on file) and in more recent times has been maintained by T&H Motors of Barnet, Hertfordshire. In the last 20 years '301 HYT' has covered only 2,300 miles, as evidenced by numerous MoT certificates dating back to 1972. It is expected to poses a fresh MoT by the time of Sale. Accompanying history consists of the aforementioned bills, copy chassis cards, numerous expired tax discs and V5 registration document, and the car also comes with its original handbook and Convertible supplement.