In 1959 Bentley upgraded their flagship chassis to the 6¾-liter V8 including the S2 Continental which was intended as a driver’s car for more sporting coachwork.
For the most part the Continental line was limited to coupes and cabriolets with one exception being the four-door Flying Spur. These included the James Young Sports Saloon, H.J. Mulliner Coupé, H.J. Mulliner Flying Spur and Park Ward Drophead Coupé.
The open Drophead Coupé by Park Ward was distinct on the S2 line. It was designed by Vilhelm Koren of Norway for Park Ward with a straight fender line and more outwardly positioned front headlights.
125 of the 388 S2 Continentals were built with this Drophead Coupé design.
1961 Bentley S2 Continental Drop Head Coupe BC32LCZ – did not sell for $180,000 One of Just 62 Left-Hand-Drive Examples. Fitted with Factory- Delivered Air-Conditioning. Exceptionally Well-Kept Continental. Recent Mechanical and Cosmetic Attention. Offered with Books, Tools and Receipts. Auction Source: The Amelia Island Auction 2012 by Gooding & Company
1960 Bentley S2 Continental Park Ward Drophead Coupé BC111AR – sold for €48,010
Compared with the standard S2 bodywork, coachbuilder Park Ward differentiated its Drophead Coupé models with a straight-through wing line from nose to tail, hooded headlamps and a three-inch shorter radiator grille. The right-hand drive, first-year example offered here is equipped with power steering and a four-speed automatic gearbox. The maroon exterior paintwork has been restored as required, and other features include a white leather interior and a white electric top. Many consider the S2 and S3 models to be among the last “proper” Bentleys ever built, particularly the Continentals. Complete with a current MoT certificate, this Park Ward-bodied Continental is a very desirable and drivable example. We understand it has spent some time in America earlier in its history but has since been returned to the UK and has recently been serviced and professionally detailed by the current owner. It is ready to be driven and enjoyed. Auction Source: 2010 Automobiles of London by RM Auctions
Most S2s carried factory “Standard Steel Saloon” coachwork, which satisfied the company’s commercial requirements, but not necessarily those of all its customers. For those preferring something more exclusive, Bentley and Rolls were still offering bespoke coachwork, which was executed by and large on the Continental, as opposed to the standard S2. H.J. Mulliner, which had been acquired by Rolls-Royce, was responsible for the closed body styles while Park Ward was entrusted with the development of an open Continental. The design of the resulting drop head coupé was created by Vilhelm Koren of Norway, who reportedly impressed Rolls-Royce brass with a stunning Alfa Romeo at the Turin motor show. In a marked yet widely acclaimed departure from Continentals of years past, Koren’s design employed a straight wingline, vestigal rear fins and new headlamp openings with a hint of the rococo. Only 125 of these S2 Continental Park Ward Drop Head Coupés were ever built, 62 of which were left-hand drive.
The Bentley presented here is one such example. It was delivered new in September 1961 to one D. Cunningham and was ultimately purchased in 1996 by a prominent New England-based collector, who has owned it ever since, stored to museum standards. Finished in champagne metallic with a lovely burgundy leather interior, the car remained in the vendor’s museum collection for a few years before he elected to send it to a marque specialist for engine work, who subsequently rebuilt the engine and transmission completely. The suspension and fuel system were totally refurbished as well and the car was refinished in an exquisite black, which complements the rich burgundy upholstery beautifully. Invoices for all the work conducted amount to over $90,000 and are available with the car, as are its books and the full factory tool set.
Given its restoration quality and recent service, this rare, S2 Park Ward Drop Head Coupé is surely one of the finest examples extant. The appeal of the S2 lies not only in its timeless style, which it carried over from the elegant S1 Continental, but also in the V8 engine, a first for Bentley. As the quad-headlamp design of the S3 is not as highly prized, the S2 with its new, powerful engine and gorgeous looks is considered by many to possess the “best of both worlds.”