Bentley’s timeless Continental sports saloon has epitomized the art of luxurious high-speed touring since its debut on the R-Type chassis in 1952. With the emergence of Rolls-Royce Ltd’s final generation of six-cylinder vehicles, including the new Silver Cloud and Bentley S-Type, the Continental adapted without losing its exclusive allure.
Later that same year, in October, the Bentley Continental found a place on the ‘S’ chassis. Autocar hailed the H J Mulliner-designed fastback version as arguably the era’s fastest four/five-seater saloon, asserting that it ‘restores Bentley to the forefront of the world’s fastest cars.’ The S-Type introduced a new box-section chassis with improved brakes and suspension, along with a more robust 4,887cc version of the existing inlet-over-exhaust six-cylinder engine. For the first time, this engine held the same specifications for both Rolls-Royce and Bentley variants. The Continental model featured a shorter radiator and higher gearing and, for a time, offered right-hand manual transmission.
Much like the original R-Type, the new S-Type Continental was exclusively available as a coachbuilt vehicle. Independent coachbuilders produced designs for the S1 Continental chassis that epitomized the era’s elegance. Companies such as H J Mulliner, Park Ward, James Young, and Hooper crafted bodies for the Continental chassis. Among the S-Type Continentals, H J Mulliner produced 218 cars, while Park Ward was responsible for the remaining 213.