This Bentley S2 Continental features the elegant, H J Mulliner-designed, 'Flying Spur' four-door coachwork, and is one of 71 with right-hand drive out of a total of 125 completed in this style on the S2 chassis.
Eulogising about Bentley's new 'S'-series cars, introduced in April 1955, The Autocar wrote, 'the latest Bentley model offers a degree of safety, comfort and performance that is beyond the experience and perhaps even the imagination of the majority of the world's motorists.' Later, in October that same year, the Bentley Continental became available on the 'S' chassis, the model having been synonymous with effortless high speed cruising in the grand manner since its introduction in R-Type form in 1952.
Having relied exclusively on six-cylinder engines since civilian production resumed at the war's end, Rolls-Royce secured its long-term future by turning 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. Power-assisted steering was now standard and there was no longer the option of a manual gearbox, Rolls-Royce's own four-speed automatic transmission being the sole offering.
The S2 Continental chassis differed by virtue of its shorter radiator, four-leading-shoe front drum brakes and - up to chassis number 'BC99BY' - higher gearing. Independent coachbuilders continued to offer alternatives to the factory's 'standard steel' bodywork, perhaps the most stylish being those produced to cloth the Bentley Continental which was, of course, only ever available with bespoke coachwork.
Rolls-Royce had envisaged the Bentley Continental as exclusively a two-door car but late in 1957 the decision was taken to sanction the production of a four-door variation by H J Mulliner. Introduced on the S1 Continental and known as the 'Flying Spur', this design was a collaborative effort by Rolls-Royce's in-house styling department and H J Mulliner, and bore a strong resemblance both to the two-door Continental and to existing coachbuilt four-door styles on Rolls-Royce and (non-Continental) Bentley chassis. The Flying Spur body style continued on the V8-engined S2 Continental and was revised to incorporate the S3's four-headlamp front end following the latter's introduction in 1962. To the Continental's existing qualities of pace and elegance, the Flying Spur added four-door practicality, a more spacious interior and generously proportioned boot, making it even more suited to extended touring of far-flung destinations.
Chassis number 'BC48CZ' was delivered in December 1961 and first registered to M O Lewis & Co Ltd with the number '179 CYT', which it retains. On 30th August 1963, the Bentley passed to a Mrs Daly of Compton Manor and by 1986 was in the USA in the possession of a Mr Edwards. Late in 1992 the Continental was sold to Formula 1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, who kept it until 2007, though during his 15 years of ownership the car covered only some 700 miles. The present owner purchased the Bentley in 2013 via Terence Morley Classic Cars.
Since acquisition, the owner has changed the exterior colour scheme to Tudor Grey and spent around £10,000 on the car over the last two years. Invoices on file total some £40,000, while one issued in 1985 records the mileage at that time as 36,667, pointing to the conclusion that the car has covered fewer than 9,000 miles in the last 30 years (the current odometer reading is 45,394 miles). The two accompanying files of history contain numerous invoices, photographs and other information about 'BC48CZ' together with 18 expired MoT certificates. This rare and beautiful Flying Spur is ready for use and comes with a V5C registration document and MoT to August 2016 (no advisories).