1966 Bentley S3Continental Drophead Coupe by Park Ward
Year of manufacture1966
To be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at Auctions America’s Fort Lauderdale event, April 1-3, 2016.
$120,000 - $160,000 US
The launch of the Bentley S3 and the similar Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III saw the introduction of contemporary design cues for the aristocratic British car builder. The Continental S3 drophead coupe was internally known as design 2006 and the most obvious design elements included dual-quad headlamps, a lower hood and radiator shell, along with smaller bumpers.
The most prominent visual difference from the S2 configuration was the four canted headlights. It was felt that the horizontal twin headlights detracted from the overall presentation, so they were fitted on a slight slant. Four headlamps provided more illumination and made it easier for Rolls-Royce to pass the latest North American lighting regulations. Also this layout had been chosen for the next generation Silver Shadow and this provided a convenient way of bridging the visual gap between the old and the new.
The new interior was updated with a padded cap rail above the fascia, separate front seats, and more leg room for front and rear passengers. The 6,230-cc (6.2-liter) V-8 was first installed in the second generation Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars and continued to these third generation vehicles, and provided nearly 200-hp, or seven-percent more horsepower.
The non-standard Vilhelm Koren-designed body was a pleasing design that enticed the sophisticated and well-off into its luxury.The S3 Continental was strictly coachbuilt and available in fixed head or drophead coupe form. Like earlier Continentals, the sportier S3 bodywork was manufactured entirely from aluminum, unlike the heavier, steel-bodied standard saloon. This; combined with higher gearing and the better compression ratios made for a decidedly faster car. Four-doored Continentals bodied by H. J. Mulliner were known as the "Flying Spur". Reliable sources indicate that only 310 Bentley S3 Continental dropheads were built during its run, with 290 of those featuring coachwork by Mulliner Park Ward, such as this car. The additional 20 cars had James Young coachwork.
Bentley and Rolls-Royce enthusiasts agree that the S3 and Cloud III were the finest of their respective series. This extremely rare example shows just over 30,000 original miles and is handsomely presented in white bodywork with red leather interior and red convertible top, which is power operated. The car is a right-hand drive model and it also has a smooth-shifting four-speed automatic transmission. The Bentley is reported to be in nice condition; the interior appears to be original and remains satisfactory with the right patina. The dash does show some signs of ageing with some visible cracks in the rich wood trim. The S3 Continental is well equipped with power steering, power windows, spare and radio. There is also a No. 16 Touring kit that is new in the box with many unspecified spare parts.
The current owner includes an ownership history that relates that the Bentley was first registered on March 10, 1966 and that the first owner only kept the car a few weeks. It was next possessed by Bernard Kufour and used in Nigeria from April 1966. In 1971, the S3 was returned to Crewe when rubber hoses, mountings and items affected by the high ambient temperatures were replaced. In June 1971 H.R. Owen sold the Bentley to Sir Hugh Fraser and the car was then repainted in its original color; the car was delivered to Scotland in August of the same year. In September, the Bentley was sold back to H.R. Owen as part of the exchange for a new car. H.R. Owen also sold the car to Alan Watts of Seymour Place London; Owen again reacquired the car and next sold it to the current owner on February 7, 1972 with a delivery date scheduled for April 19, 1972. Forty-four years later, this model still turns heads in admiring appreciation.
Many consider the S2 and S3 models to be among the last “proper” Bentleys ever built, particularly the Continentals. This Park Ward-bodied Continental is a very desirable and drivable example. With over 115-mph advertised top speed and checking in at a curb weight of 4,850-pounds, you’ll find this machine to be steady, sound and solid; it is ready to be driven and enjoyed as its story continues.
1966 Bentley S3 Continental Drophead Coupe by Park Ward