1959 Bentley Continental S1

Originally called the Bentley S, the Bentley S1 was introduced in 1955 and remained in production until 1959, after 3,538 examples were built. In similar fashion to the preceding Mark VI and R-Type Bentleys, there were little difference between the standard Bentley and the Rolls-Royce Models, in this case, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I. It shared the 4.9-liter straight-6 engine and backed by a four-speed automatic transmission. The 4.9-liter engine, with increased compression, larger carburetors and intake valves, helped boost power over its 4.5-liter predecessor by 13 percent. Additional elements adding to the proper road manners included a host of suspension, steering and braking improvements.

Bentley Series S1 and the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud were virtually identical with the exception of grille and badging details. They were both the product of Managing Director Arthur Sedgreaves' new production and manufacturing techniques, which produced the Standard Steel Saloon. The original 123-inch wheelbase platform persisted until 1957 when it was replaced by a larger, 127-inch platform.

Shortly after the introduction of the Bentley S1, the Bentley Continental became available on the 'S' chassis in October of that same year. The Standard Steel Saloon fulfilled the company's commercial requirements, but for the more discerning customer, something more elegant and exclusive was requested. Those who could afford these cars were limited only by their imagination.

The Continental version came with a higher compression ratio, shorter radiator and higher overall gearing and could be ordered with right-hand change manual transmission (at least for a short time). In 1958, the S1 Continental received power-assisted steering and (from chassis 'BC21BG') a more powerful engine incorporating an increased compression ratio, larger carburetors and bigger inlet valves.


by Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2019

Related Reading : Bentley S1 and Continental History

The Bentley S1 was produced from 1955 through 1959 during which 3538 examples were created with 145 being outfitted with custom bodies. 431 examples were Bentley S1 Continentals. Thirty-five of the Bentley S1s sat atop a long wheelbase. Some of the notable coachbuilders who outfitted the S1s were Park Ward and H.J. Mulliner. The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I and the Bentley S1 were nearly identical,....
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Related Reading : Bentley S1 and Continental History

When Bentley was purchased by the Volkswagen conglomerate in 1998, many fans of the marque feared the brand would lose its identity. With long time brother Rolls-Royce getting sold off to a different parent company, though, those worries were unwarranted. Prior to the 1930s, Rolls-Royce and Bentley were serious competitors. Both firms offered their unique interpretations on the English gentlemans....
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1959 Vehicle Profiles

1959 Bentley Continental S1 vehicle information

Fastback Coupe
Coachwork: Mulliner

Chassis Num: BC38LEL

Use of the term continental to indicate a high performance version of an existing chassis was an inspiration of Sir Henry Royce and was applied to the short chassis version of the Phantom II in 1930. Bentley decided to offer a Continental version of ....[continue reading]

1959 Bentley Continental S1 vehicle information

Saloon
Coachwork: James Young

The Continental S1 was produced starting in 1955 and ending in 1959 with Design #29. Most base-series S1s were factory-made steel body saloons, but a limited number of S1 Continentals were custom built by outside coach maker James Young. This left-dr....[continue reading]

1959 Bentley Continental S1 vehicle information

Drop Head Coupe
Coachwork: Park Ward & Co.

This S-Continental Park Ward Convertible is one of the 31 left drive, alloy-bodied dropheads built between 1956 and 1959. This late example is equipped with the upgraded large valve, large carburetor engine, original equipment power steering, power-....[continue reading]

1959 Bentley Continental S1 vehicle information

Fastback Coupe
Coachwork: Mulliner

This Bentley is a H.J. Mulliner Design #7466 'High Wing' Fastback coupe. It is the second of only three left drives built, all for the 1959 model year. They were delivered to a discerning clientele who had both the taste and the approximately $35,000....[continue reading]

1959 Bentley Continental S1 vehicle information

Flying Spur Sports Saloon
Coachwork: Mulliner

Chassis Num: BC14LEL

In 1952, Bentley introduced the R-Type chassis Continental sport saloon that offered effortless high speed cruising in the grand manner. The final generation of the six-cylinder cars - the Silver-Cloud and the Bentley S-Type - in April of 1955, conti....[continue reading]

1959 Bentley Continental S1 vehicle information

Flying Spur Sports Saloon
Coachwork: Mulliner

Chassis Num: BC24FM
Engine Num: BC23F

The Bentley S1 Continental had an identical chassis and engine to the standard S1, but with a 2.923 rear axle and 8.0:1 compression ratio better suited for high-speed, long-distance cruising. The Continental was availed with a broad selection of coac....[continue reading]

1959 Bentley Continental S1 vehicle information

Drop Head Coupe
Coachwork: Park Ward & Co.

Chassis Num: BC14LGN
Engine Num: BC13G

This Bentley S1 Continental Drophead Coupe by Park Ward is one of 31 left-hand-drive S1 Continentals built. It was original finished in the color scheme of Sand and Sable, with beige upholstery and brown top. It came equipped with an automatic transm....[continue reading]

Fastback Coupe by Mulliner
Chassis #: BC38LEL 
Saloon by James Young
 
Drop Head Coupe by Park Ward & Co.
 
Fastback Coupe by Mulliner
 
Flying Spur Sports Saloon by Mulliner
Chassis #: BC14LEL 
Flying Spur Sports Saloon by Mulliner
Chassis #: BC24FM 
Drop Head Coupe by Park Ward & Co.
Chassis #: BC14LGN 


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Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Bentley
1964Chevrolet (2,318,619)Ford (1,594,053)Toyota (1,068,321)
1963Chevrolet (2,237,201)Ford (1,525,404)Fiat (957,941)
1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Meteor (1,408,478)
1955Chevrolet (1,704,667)Ford (1,451,157)Buick (738,814)
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)

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