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Bentley S3 Continental, Blue, for sale in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, for $199,900.
The only vehicle in the history of the Rolls-Royce Owners Club to win "Best of Show"and the "Royce Memorial"trophies TWICE.
Generally regarded as the last of the true coach-built Bentleys, the S3 Continental Drophead coupes were built shortly after the merger of H. J. Mulliner and Park Ward. Sources indicate that 86 were built on the Bentley S3 chassis (56 RHD and 28 LHD) for which the body was expressly designed, making them exceedingly rare today. Chassis number BC84XC is a right-hand-drive model originally delivered to Jack Barclay LTD. in London. Restored several years ago and still presenting in spectacular condition today, this is a true #1 condition car that might be the finest one in existence. In fact, it is the only vehicle in the history of the Rolls-Royce Owners Club to win \"Best of Show\"and the \"Royce Memorial\"trophies TWICE.
Beautifully finished in its original color of Dawn Blue, the bodywork on this S3 is absolutely spectacular in every way with almost no signs of usage or wear. Single stage enamel was used in the refinishing process, matching the original paint exactly and carries a soft shine that just can’t be duplicated using modern 2-stage urethanes. Of course, the hand-made body panels fit superbly, with exacting panel gaps and no misalignment anywhere, typical of Mulliner/Park Ward’s workmanship. The car has never had any significant body repairs or damage, and it’s clear that the paint has been carefully rubbed and buffed to a finish that’s so distortion-free that you can use it as a mirror to shave each morning.
Of course, chrome and other brightwork is outstanding, from the grille (which is an incredibly rare NOS piece acquired from a distributor decades ago) to the bumpers, to the trim on the edges of the trunk opening. The polished trim along the body sides was optional, and brings some drama to the well-proportioned body. Notice the small details like the tiny windshield washer nozzle at the base of the windshield and the unique frames for the vent glass in the front doors. The headlight bezels are refinished in chrome (many S3 Bentleys feature painted bezels, which is incorrect), and feature original Marchal headlamps. A pair of accessory Lucas flamethrower driving lights have been installed on either side of the grille. All the plastic lenses, from the turn signals up front to the unique bullet-shaped taillights and signal indicators, are original Lucas pieces in excellent condition with no cracks or fading.
Finished using Bridge of Weir leather, the crimson interior is a sporting contrast to the Dawn Blue exterior, and certainly flashier than the original light gray hides. The patterns and stitching are all as-original, and every hand-built detail is correct, from the leather-bound carpet sets and mats to the instrument hood which was unique to Park Ward-built cars. As a hand-crafted automobile, any color combination was possible, so there are no deductions for the non-original color in points judging, and few will argue that it isn’t dramatic as it is finished today. There is no notable wear outside of a comfortable, lived-in look to the seats that is evidence of both exceptional care and that this is a car you will want to drive whenever the opportunity presents itself.
You’ll be delighted by the features and amenities in this S3, ranging from the adjustable arm rests on the doors to the pull-out tray under the dashboard, which features an ashtray that has never been used. The back seat folds down to create a flat luggage shelf, and new leather belts are included with the car which are designed to hold the luggage in place using brackets mounted at the base of the back seat cushion and in the convertible top well.
The wooden dashboard is so gorgeous to look at that you may find yourself distracted on the road. And yes, it is real wood—look at the glove box door and you can plainly see that it is a sculpted slab of 1-inch thick walnut, not a veneer. You’ll find beautiful Smith’s gauges arrayed in front of the driver, along with a large and very formal-feeling steering wheel and slender chrome shifter for the 4-speed automatic transmission. You’ll also note that this car is equipped with air conditioning, which is fully functional and uses 100% original period components. The stereo is obviously not original, but is a quality Blaupunkt AM/FM/cassette unit that was installed when the car was restored. You’ll also find a matching carpeted floor mat and under the driver’s feet, the insignia of H. J. Mulliner on a rubber insert.
Overhead, the insulated convertible top makes this car as hushed as a closed car, and is so beautifully finished that one observer refused to believe that the top could fold. Of course, the mechanism is power-actuated, and hides the entire assembly in the well in about 20 seconds, where it is covered by a matching crimson leather top boot. The top grain is correct, and there are no blemishes, wrinkles, or shrinkage in the material. The plastic rear window is crystal clear with no scoring or scratching. And speaking of plastic, the sun visors are tinted plexiglass, with the passenger enjoying a small beveled-glass vanity mirror. The owner informs me that an entire sheet of the correct material was especially made for this car, and that all of it was consumed to create these two perfect visors.
The trunk is finished with matching carpets, and features a complete original toolkit, tire inflator, and matching spare tire. Modern additions include a built-in Battery Tender whose plug is easily accessed at the rear of the trunk opening, and a battery shut-off switch on the trunk bulkhead.
Open the side-opening split hood, which, like the coachbuilt body, is a throwback to an earlier era, and you’ll find Rolls-Royce’s all-alloy 6.2 liter overhead valve V8. Fed by dual SU carburetors and with a slightly higher compression ratio than the S2 Bentleys, it produces an estimated 200 horsepower, since it was Rolls-Royce’s policy at the time to only reveal that horsepower was ‘adequate. ’ Torquey, smooth, and almost completely silent in operation, it is the ideal companion for the owner-driver who enjoys putting his hardware on the road. As with the interior, numerous small details will delight the eye, from the air cleaner housing that can be folded out of the way, to the gorgeous black and silver paint on the engine itself. Note the Jack Barclay service plaque on the firewall, the valves to control coolant flow to the heater and defroster, and the period-correct A/C unit. This car also carries its original power steering system and correct generator unit. The original windshield washer system includes an incredibly rare Lucas 3-wire pump, the brake fluid reservoirs are correct Girling units, and the hoses and clamps are period accurate.
The chassis shows little evidence that this car is driven and no signs of any significant repairs or metal damage in the past, and certainly no rust. The rear springs are encased in leather coverings, the steering mechanism is highly detailed with correct fittings and hardware, and the brakes have been recently serviced. The exhaust system is a correct steel unit with a flat black high temperature finish, applied with a brush as it was at the factory. Tires are serviceable 8.20-15 US Royal Safety 800 bias ply wide whitewalls as original. E. F. Murphy of Columbus, Ohio, perhaps the foremost expert on these vehicles and one of few remaining factory-trained technicians, has performed all mechanical servicing for the past 20 years. Today it is in fully-sorted and road-worthy condition and requires nothing to be put into immediate use.
Documentation includes the original owner’s manuals, and as an early S3, it came with an S2 manual and a supplement designed for the S3.
With this car comes a collection of spare parts, including a rare Lucas ignition coil, replacement belts and hoses, new leather luggage straps, a custom-fitted car cover, and perhaps most important to the owner who wants to drive his S3, a custom-made stone guard for the front end. Yes, we understand that it isn’t beautiful to look at, but it will protect those priceless Marchal headlamps and the gorgeous paint finish. It is easily removed with hand tools in a matter of minutes, leaving no trace, and the screen material is commonly available should the need to replace it arise.
As the last of the true coachbuilt vehicles from Rolls-Royce/Bentley, these S3 Continentals have quickly appreciated in the market, a trend experts see continuing as values of S2 models ratchet upwards as well. Stunningly expensive when new, only a handful survive and this may very well be the nicest one extant. Beautifully finished in a spectacular color combination, this car is welcome at the highest levels and has seldom been shown. Truly a rare opportunity to own a hand-built Bentley.
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Engine:6.2 liter ohv v8, dual su carburetors
Location:Warrensville Heights, Ohio