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Car Tales: Classy Modesty Personified, The Bentley S2 Continental

‘An old adage is that it is a modest man who drives a Bentley. Perhaps not entirely true today, where the car is a favorite of flashy hiphop artists: however, Bentley still enjoys a more discreet and classy reputation than other marques. Bentley owners enjoy life, the way life should be enjoyed. Usually with several houses and the Bentley rarely being the only car in the garage.
1960 Bentley S2 Continental James Young for sale
‘James Bond drove a Bentley 4½ with an Amherst Villiers supercharger and when the UK Queen Elizabeth II travels by car in official capacities, she does so in her Bentley State Limousine.

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‘Due to small production numbers and their aura of quintessential classiness, Bentley cars are sought after and command great value: noted car collector Ralph Lauren has a ‘Blower’ Bentley 4½ liter, which replaced the Bentley 3 liter in 1929, in his stable of rare cars.
1960 Bentley S2 Continental James Young side view
‘At Beverly Hills Car Club we have this excellent example, a rare 1960 Bentley S2 Continental in Silver Green Metallic over British Racing Green with a sand beige interior. The vehicle comes with an automatic transmission, right-hand drive, power steering, wood trim, steel wheels, whitewall tires, Bentley hub caps, and spare tire.
‘This is a unique opportunity to acquire this highly collectible James Young-bodied Continental. It is an extremely sought-after British classic that has just come out of long-term ownership/storage and is an excellent candidate for a light restoration.
‘The Bentley company was founded in 1919 by Walter Bentley as Bentley Motors Limited: in 1921 they delivered their first car. This first Bentley featured an innovative four valve per cylinder engine, designed with aluminum pistons as opposed to cast iron. The car competed in the 1922 Indianapolis 500, finishing 13th with an average speed of 75 mph.
‘After initially being severely underfunded the company received financing in 1926 from arch-playboy Joel Woolf Barnato, whose father made a fortune in South African gold and diamond mining. Joel became known as one of the ‘Bentley Boys’ of the 1920s, and his funding was crucial in Bentley’s ability to stay open during the depression later that decade.
1960 Bentley S2 Continental James Young steering
‘Under Barnato’s stewardship, what had been an ever financially fraught British carmaker went on to become the motor vehicle of choice for the brightest of the Bright Young Things of the Jazz Age. He poured money into Bentley’s racing program and, thanks to both his skill as a driver and his immense means, the winged ‘B’ of Bentley came to dominate the winner’s podium at the famous Le Mans 24 Hours race.
‘It became widely known for winning Le Mans in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930. Barnato became company chairman, and – wearing his other hat as a racing driver – won three of those Le Mans races in a Bentley 3 Liter Sport.
‘The company shortly thereafter was bought out by the British Central Equitable Trust, which also owned competitor Rolls-Royce. Original owner and designer Walter Bentley left the company to work for Lagonda.
1960 Bentley S2 Continental James Young engine
‘Fast-forward 30 years to the Bentley S2 Continental Saloon, a sedan designed by James Young with a front-mounted powerplant which delivers its power to the rear wheels. The Bentley S2 Continental Saloon’s engine is a naturally-aspirated, 6.2 liter, overhead valve 90 degree V8 cylinder with 2 valves per cylinder. The power is supplied via a 4-speed automatic transmission.
‘In the 1950s and 1960s the Bentley Continental was the world’s ultimate Grand Tourer, guaranteed to whisk you from any European capital and arrive fresh as a daisy at Monte Carlo to play the tables that same evening.
‘Arguably the most stylish were those produced for the Bentley Continental, only ever available with bespoke coachwork. One of the most prominent of these firms was James Young, which had established itself among the foremost coachbuilders for upmarket chassis by the end of the 1930s
‘The Bromley-based carriage-maker had bodied its first automobile in 1908, affiliating itself with a succession of quality marques throughout the 1920s and 1930s before being acquired by London’s Jack Barclay Group in 1937. After its factory had been devastated by wartime bombing, the company did not resume exhibiting at the London Motor Shows until 1948, continuing to offer coachbuilt designs of distinction, principally on Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis, until the arrival of the unitary construction Silver Shadow/T-Series range in the 1960s. A lack of suitable chassis would force the firm’s closure before the 1960s had ended.
‘But in its declining years James Young produced what are widely recognized as its finest creations. And the beautiful Bentley Continental that we now have at Beverly Hills Car Club is indubitably among them.
-Alex Manos, Owner
Classic Bentley Buyer Alex Manos

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