When Bentley introduced their R-Type Continental in 1952, it had a top speed of 120-mph and was hailed as 'the fastest four-seat car in the world.' The R-Type was replaced in 1955 by the S-Series, which also had a Continental variant.
The S Series had a long chassis which many feared would degrade the cars performance. This was not so, as the engine received an increase in displacement and the rear-axle ratio was changed to provide performance levels on par with the model it replaced. The suspension was improved which gave the car a nicer ride while improving its performance.
H.J. Mulliner bodied the Rolls-Royce styled fastback coupe, also known as the Sports Saloon. There were a handful of coachbuilders that were tasked with performing their craft on the Continental models, with Park Ward probably being the most famous. Their firm produced both open and closed models for the Continental S Series. It is estimated that 431 S1 Continentals carried this Drophead Coupe body and only 69 are in existence in modern times.
This S1 Continental Drophead Coupe with coachwork by Park Ward is one of only 31 original left-hand drive US delivery cars. It was delivered by New York City's Inskip Motors to Mr. R. L. Parish. It came equipped from the factory with a radio, sun visors, sealed beam headlights, speedometer calibrated in miles per hour, and whitewall tires.
In 1960 the car was sold to J.F. Anderson of Houston Texas. Rosa Eggleston from Memphis, Tennessee became the cars next owner in 1965 and sold it to the current owner in 1991. Up to this point in history, the car had been driven 39,000 miles. A three-year restoration was commissioned which removed the original green paint using walnut-shell stripping process. The entire vehicle was completely overhauled with most of the mechanical elements being refurbished, rebuilt, and/or restored. The interior was reupholstered.
After the restoration, the car was put on the concours trail where it won two Best in Shows and 14 Best in Class awards. The most recent was in 2005. In 1996 it was invited to the Rolls-Royce's manufacturer exhibit at the Pebble Beach Concours. In 2005 it was in the heritage display at the Los Angeles Auto Show and 2006 New York International Auto Show.
Currently, the car has nearly 45,000 miles on the odometer. In 2007 it was brought to the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, California and estimated to sell for $550,000-$650,000. Those estimates proved accurate, as the lot was sold for $577,500 including buyer's premium.