Arizona

16-17 January 2014

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Lot 21

1958 Bentley S1 Continental Coupe by Park Ward

  • Chassis no. BC35LDJ
  • Engine no. BC34D

Sold for $511,500


Est. 178 bhp, 4,887 cc F-head inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and vacuum-assisted four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 123 in.

  • One of 10 Park Ward Coupes of this design on a left-hand drive chassis
  • Desirable wraparound rear window and small tailfins
  • Originally delivered to Venezuela; owned by two families since new
  • Beautifully and authentically restored and not yet shown


The Continental name evokes high-speed travel over long distances in the lap of luxury. Fittingly, that is exactly the experience that Bentley’s Continental models provided to the favored few during the 1950s.



The S1 Continental of 1955 featured the last of Bentley’s long-lived six-cylinder engine, which, being a Rolls-Royce design, was smooth and silent but also appropriately powerful. Road test figures published in Autocar recorded a top speed of 120.5 mph. An exceptionally rigid welded box section chassis was mounted on a new front suspension that had a semi-trailing wishbone and repositioned rear springs, which improved handling and softened the ride, while a three-way safety braking setup enabled sure stops at the end of those high-speed journeys. The rear suspension was electrically controlled, and it could be changed to normal or hard by a switch on the steering column.



While successive V-8-powered S2 and S3 Continentals were also offered until well into the 1960s, many viewed the S1 as the more desirable model: it is simpler, lighter, and slightly quicker, and it accomplishes all this while still being luxuriously comfortable, in the British tradition.



Numerous catalogued semi-custom and custom body styles were used to dress the S1 Continental, usually in lightweight all-aluminum, as would be expected of a performance model. The car offered here is one of the rarest iterations; it is one of a believed ten built by Park Ward, of London, to this striking coupe design on a left-hand drive chassis. This design, which was originally created for the 1957 Paris show, was distinguished by its crisp, airy wraparound rear window, large rear quarter windows, narrow C-pillars, and the audacious flair of small tailfins, which was clearly a nod to American design trends. It is one of the most striking closed bodies fitted to the S1 Continental.



This particular example, chassis BC35LDJ, is one of six of the original ten known to survive today. It was ordered through Reyreca, the Rolls-Royce dealer in Caracas, Venezuela, by Luis Enrique Pérez Velutini, and it was the only Park Ward Coupe, and almost certainly the only S1 Continental of any type, delivered new to that country. For various reasons, Mr. Pérez Velutini elected not to purchase the completed car, and upon arrival in Caracas, it was acquired instead by his cousin, Miguel H. Velutini. The Bentley would remain in the care of the Velutini family until 1996, when it was acquired from Mrs. Velutini by a Venezuelan enthusiast, whose daughter offers it here today.



The Continental has had a painstaking frame-off restoration to original condition over a period of several years, which included a bare-metal refinish in Sand and the installation of its original factory-installed engine, number BC34D, with its original, optional power steering. The interior is properly upholstered in genuine Connolly leather—a supply of which was fortunately acquired before that company closed its doors—which is accented by correct Wilton wool carpeting. As a result, the Bentley today presents in excellent overall condition, and it is accompanied by its original tool set, as well as documentation and photocopies of receipts that pertain to its restoration.



Not only does this S1 Continental carry one of the most attractive and best-designed bodies fitted to this chassis, but this particular car has also never before been shown in judged competition. This 1958 Bentley S1 Continental Coupe incorporates the best of classic elegance and Jet Age bravado, making it is a superb example of a classic British grand tourer—one that has yet to be seen on a U.S. or European show field.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more