Continentals were lightened versions of the standard steel-bodied cars, built for high-speed cruising
The post-war heyday of Bentley was with the Continental models, from their introduction in 1952. The combination of sporting performance and a beautifully clothed chassis made for the ultimate in long distance luxury touring. The name itself became synonymous with elegance.
With the arrival of the 4.9-liter S1, the final edition of Crewe’s historic straight-six, there came enhanced power with an increased compression ratio, and larger carburetors and inlet valves. Bentley would never say directly how much more power the S1 made, admitting only to a 13-percent increase in output. A “long” rear axle held down the revs at high speed, while well judged improvements to suspension, steering and braking insured that road manners kept pace with performance.
Later came Park Ward’s supremely elegant and longer, slightly lower coachwork in both fixed and drophead form. It used advanced technology with high-duty alloys in the structure supporting the aluminum shell. The suave new shape was nearly 12 inches longer than before, with greater luggage space, optional electric windows, power steering, and a more elaborate climate control system.
This excellent example was first delivered to a P.G. Swiffen in March 1958. According to its old log book, in the early 1960s it was finished in silver, and from 1966 resided in the Bournemouth area through four owners. In 1973, it was purchased by Dr. Sidney Whitteridge of London and then Inverness, and remained in his ownership until 1994, when it was sold at public auction following his death.
It had languished in a lengthy period of storage, and was subsequently recommissioned for the road at the behest of the new owner, Eddie Shah. The Continental passed to the present owner in 1996 when it was acquired at the Rolls-Royce Enthusiast Club annual rally.
Upon acquisition, the car was committed to Jack Barclay for a thorough service and overhaul. Thus began a regular maintenance and revision of the car’s condition, later at noted Rolls-Royce and Bentley experts English Automotive of West Molesley.
Over the last eight years, work completed has included a respray to the present green color, refurbishment of the bodywork and sills, and continued maintenance of the mechanicals. Today the car is offered in tidy and usable order.