Bentley S1

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Bentley S
Bentley S1 (Byward Auto Classic).jpg
ManufacturerBentley Motors (1931) Limited, Crewe, Cheshire
3,538 produced
AssemblyCrewe, Cheshire, England
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size luxury car
Body style4-door saloon
2-door coupe
LayoutFR layout
Platformseparate chassis
RelatedBentley S1 Continental
Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud
Engine4.9 L I6
Transmission4-speed automatic
Wheelbase123 in (3,124 mm) [1]
127 in (3,226 mm)
Length211.75 in (5,378 mm) [1]
Width1,898.65 mm (74+34 in)
Height1,631.95 mm (64+14 in)
Kerb weight1,924 kg (4,242 lb)
PredecessorR Type

The Bentley S1 (originally simply "Bentley S") was a luxury car produced by Bentley Motors Limited from 1955 until 1959. The S1 was derived from Rolls-Royce's complete redesign of its standard production car after World War II, the Silver Cloud. Each was its maker's last standard production car with an independent chassis. The S-series Bentley was given the Rolls-Royce - Bentley L Series V8 engine in late 1959 and named the S2. Twin headlamps and a facelift to the front arrived in late 1962, resulting in the S3. In late 1965 the S3 was replaced by the new unitary construction Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow-derived T series.

Bentley standard steel saloon[edit]

It was announced at the end of April 1955,[2] 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 [hood] and luggage locker lid [trunk 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 [trunk]
  • 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]


  • S: 3072 (145 with coachbuilt bodies)
  • S long wheelbase: 35 (12 with coachbuilt bodies)

S Continental[edit]

Bentley S Continental
1956 Bentley S1 Continental PW 6069446660.jpg
Park Ward Continental Drophead Coupé
also available as a Fixed-Head Coupé
ManufacturerPark Ward London
on chassis provided by
Bentley Motors (1931) Limited, Crewe, Cheshire
AssemblyCrewe Cheshire then London, England
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size luxury car
Body style4-seater 2-door fixed head coupé
or drophead coupé
LayoutFR layout
Platformseparate chassis
RelatedBentley S1
Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud
Engine4.9 L I6
Transmission4-speed automatic
Wheelbase123 in (3,100 mm) [1]
3,225.8 mm (127.00 in)
Length210.5 in (5,350 mm) [1]
Width1,828.8 mm (72.00 in)
Height1,587.5 mm (62+12 in)
Kerb weight1,803.5 kg (3,976 lb)

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]



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