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1964 Bentley S3 Continental Drophead Coupé
Coachwork by H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd
Registration no. EBY 187B
Chassis no. BC130XC

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 of the final (S-Type) generation of six-cylinder cars in 1955, the Continental lost a little of its individuality but none of its exclusivity, and this trend continued after the arrival of the V8-engined S2 in 1959. Although the S2 appeared externally unchanged, its performance was considerably enhanced by the new 6,230cc V8 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 being the sole offering. The S2 Continental chassis differed from the standard version by virtue of its four-leading-shoe front brakes, shorter radiator and, up to chassis number 'BC99BY', higher gearing.

The Bentley Continental was, of course, exclusively a coachbuilt automobile. The firms of H J Mulliner, Park Ward and James Young all offered bodies on the Continental S2 chassis. By far the most striking of these S2 Continentals were those bodied by Rolls-Royce's in-house coachbuilder Park Ward, and this design by Norwegian Vilhelm Koren, with its influential continuous front-to-rear wing line, would continue on the S3 Continental.

Quad headlamps were the S3's major styling innovation, and on the Continental - now bodied by the merged firm of H J Mulliner, Park Ward - were contained in slanting nacelles, giving rise to this model's 'Chinese Eye' sobriquet. These 'Chinese Eye' models constituted the majority of coachbuilt Rolls-Royce and Bentley variants completed between 1962 and 1966. Headlamps aside, the most significant change was to the S3's engine, which boasted an increased compression ratio and larger carburettors, modifications that raised peak power by some 7%.

One of the best summaries of the V8-engined Continental's manifest virtues was penned by Country Life's motoring correspondent John Eason-Gibson: "The Bentley Continental provides exceptionally fast transport with an unequalled standard of silence and smoothness, and gives all the benefits of a luxurious town carriage at the same time." More modern equivalents may have surpassed the S-Type Continentals in terms of outright performance, but none can match them for grace and style.

This beautiful S3 Continental is presented in generally very good condition having been carefully looked after by the same owner for the last 31 years. Dating back to the car's acquisition in July 1988, its history file is extensive, containing the BDC's book and first-owner documents from the R-REC.

There are also numerous receipts on file for servicing and repairs together with MoT certificates covering several years. These include a bill from 2007 for reconditioned gearbox and another bill for a complete new hood and headlining fitted in 2008 by Robert Smith of R&R Quality Car Trim, one of the best hood trimmers in the country. The interior is in good condition, as is the paintwork and brightwork. There is also a 2017 bill from Frank Dale & Stepsons for repainting of the sides, body polish, and engine detailing. All in all this is a very tidy car in excellent running order, which the vendor describes as sound throughout. Offered with a V5C Registration Certificate and the aforementioned extensive history file. A rare, boxed continental touring kit of spares for this model is available by separate negotiation.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
United Kingdom
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Bonhams Collectors’ Car department