1957 Bentley S1 Continental Flying Spur by H.J.Mulliner
This is a historically important Bentley. It’s the very first S1 Continental with HJ Mulliner’s exceptionally attractive and well-balanced four-door Flying Spur bodywork. As such, it was the first, in 1957, of a few dozen six-light examples that were among the 217 S1 Continentals produced by the coachbuilder.
Some prestigious classics are irresistible as ‘keepers’ and, indeed, this Bentley has been Alan Carrington’s personal car for six years. During that time it’s been used sparingly but enthusiastically, and provided a huge amount of satisfaction and pride at both classic car events and private social occasions.
The overall condition is very sound. The metallic burgundy paintwork (the car, originally finished in a rather drab two-tone grey, was repainted around 30 years ago) still has some lustre, but there are several small marks and – in reality – a full repaint is ideally needed to achieve perfection. Inside, the red St James leather upholstery is totally original and patinated, as are the carpets that have some small threadbare patches after more than 60 years. The beige West of England cloth headlining has been replaced relatively recently.
Below the ‘water line’, this Flying Spur is in excellent shape. The whole of the car’s underside has been stripped back to bare metal and repainted in the correct satin black. While in our possession we’ve overseen a complete overhaul of the braking system to include new master cylinders, brake drums and brake shoes. In the car’s suspension department, dampers have been rebuilt and kingpins replaced. The 4.9-litre straight-six engine has been part-rebuilt, with a full de-coke undertaken with the cylinder head removed, and a new head gasket installed. The carburettors have been rebuilt, and the car features a brand new, stainless steel exhaust system.
All the work has been done with an eye to keeping this beautiful saloon in healthy condition for everyday enjoyment. The interior woodwork, though, is a labour of love, removed and re-veneered by specialist Silver Crest in 2017 and, consequently, is in superb order. Likewise, the steel wheels have been sandblasted, black powder-coated, and shod with new 235/75/15 tyres with period-appropriate, tasteful thin whitewall tyres. The original chrome hubcaps are with the car.
This car has 95,405 miles on its odometer, a figure fully backed up by a bulging history file that includes copies of build records, comprehensive service history, original green logbook and continuation sheets, and numerous previous MoT certificates to accompany the present one. It drives wonderfully well and a new owner has the choice to keep it as a car to be driven with confidence all the time, or elevated to concours-competitive order with very little difficulty.