Bentley S1

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Bentley S
Bentley S1 (Byward Auto Classic).jpg
Manufacturer Bentley Motors (1931) Limited, Crewe, Cheshire
Production 1955–1959
3538 produced
Assembly Crewe, Cheshire, England
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door coupe
Layout FR layout
Platform separate chassis
Related Bentley S1 Continental
Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud
Engine 4.9 L I6
Transmission 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 123 in (3,100 mm) [1]
127 inches (3,200 mm)
Length 211.75 in (5,378 mm) [1]
Width 1,898.65 mm (74 34 in)
Height 1,631.95 mm (64 14 in)
Kerb weight 1,924 kg (4,242 lb)
Predecessor R Type
Successor S2

The Bentley S was a luxury car produced by Bentley Motors Limited from 1955 until 1959.

Bentley (and Rolls-Royce)'s first true complete redesign of their standard production car after World War II and their last standard production car with an independent chassis.

These cars were given a new V8 engine in late 1959, and those cars are identified as S2. Twin headlamps and a facelift to the front arrived in late 1962, and those cars are known as S3.

This shape remained in production with those modifications until late 1965 when it was replaced with the completely new chassisless monocoque T series.

Bentley standard steel saloon[2][edit]

It was announced at the end of April 1955, and it was noted that the existing Continental model would continue. The new standard steel saloon replaced the R type standard steel saloon which had been in production, with modifications, since 1946. It was a more generously sized five- or six-seater saloon with the body manufactured in pressed steel with stressed skin construction. Doors, bonnet and luggage locker lid were of aluminium.

Having a totally new external appearance, although with the traditional radiator grille, the main differences from the R type were:

  • three inches longer wheelbase
  • lower build without reducing headroom and with an enlarged luggage boot
  • softer suspension with electrically operated control of rear dampers
  • lighter steering and improved braking
  • engine capacity increased to 4887cc, the same size as used in the Bentley Continental
  • four-speed automatic gearbox was standard, with ability to select individual ratios if desired.

Standard and long wheelbase saloon and chassis[edit]

As with the preceding Mark VI and R type Bentleys, there was almost no difference between standard Bentley and Rolls-Royce models; this Bentley S differing only in its radiator grille shape and badging from the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I.

The models shared the 4.9 L (4887 cc/298 in³) straight-6 engine. They were the last vehicles to be powered by descendants of the engine originally used in the Rolls-Royce Twenty from 1922 to 1929. The bore was 95.25 mm (3.750 in), stroke was 114.3 mm (4.50 in) and compression ratio 6.6:1. Twin SU carburetors were fitted, with upgraded models from 1957. A 4-speed automatic transmission was standard.

Two wheelbases were produced: 123 inches (3,100 mm) and, from 1957, 127 inches (3,200 mm).

A standard-wheelbase car tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1957 had a top speed of 103 mph (166 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 13.1 seconds. A fuel consumption of 16.1 miles per imperial gallon (17.5 L/100 km; 13.4 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car, which had the optional power steering, cost £6305 including taxes of £1803.[1]

Production of standard specification cars[edit]

  • S: 3072 (145 with coachbuilt bodies)
  • S long wheelbase: 35 (12 with coachbuilt bodies)
Bentley S Continental
1956 Bentley S1 Continental PW 6069446660.jpg
Park Ward Continental Drophead Coupé
also available as a Fixed-Head Coupé
Manufacturer Park Ward London
on chassis provided by
Bentley Motors (1931) Limited, Crewe, Cheshire
Assembly Crewe Cheshire then London, England
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car
Body style 4-seater 2-door fixed head coupé
or drophead coupé
Layout FR layout
Platform separate chassis
Related Bentley S1
Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud
Engine 4.9 L I6
Transmission 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 123 in (3,100 mm) [1]
3,225.8 mm (127.00 in)
Length 210.5 in (5,350 mm) [1]
Width 1,828.8 mm (72.00 in)
Height 1,587.5 mm (62 12 in)
Kerb weight 1,803.5 kg (3,976 lb)

Bentley Continental[edit]

A high-performance version S Continental (chassis only) was introduced six months after the introduction of the S1. Lighter weight fixed head and drophead coupé bodies were provided to special order for a premium of about 50% by H. J. Mulliner & Co., Park Ward, James Young and Freestone & Webb. A pre-production 2-seater fixed-head coupé on the new chassis was designed and built for the Bentley factory by Pininfarina. In 1959 motoring correspondent Archie Vicar described it as a "comfortable large saloon with a decent turn of speed".[3]

Production of Continentals[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Bentley S Series". The Motor. July 10, 1957. 
  2. ^ New Rolls-Royce And Bentley Road Performance Improved FROM OUR MOTORING CORRESPONDENT. The Times, Wednesday, April 27, 1955; pg. 9; Issue 53205; col B
  3. ^ Motorist´s Compendium and Driver´s Almanack, December 1959, p.45-57.

The last photograph is of an "R Type" Bentley Continental, not an "S1"