The S1 Continental engine had effectively runits course by 1959 and could not be developed any further. The approximate 160bhp power output was more than sufficient but due to pressures and competition elsewhere Rolls-Royce sought out an improved power unit to deliver more speed whilst retaining the Bentley Continentals refined performance. The answer was a complete move away from the six cylinder inline engine configuration, to an all new V8 engine boasting 6,230cc and an estimated 200bhp boosting the power by nearly 25%. It had been developed at Crewe for some years prior to being fitted to the first S2 Continental chassis at the Hooper works in December of 1959 and was an immediate success. It was constructed almost entirely in aluminium and was of a very similar weight to the S1 Continentals engine, but featured hydraulic tappets to ensure quiet running. A few other mechanical aspects were modified including the braking and lubrication systems, with automatic transmission now a standard fitting, making the Bentley S2 Continental a motorcar capable of speeds approaching 120mph.
At a glance it would appear to be identical to the earlier S1 Continental Flying Spur, but there are a few subtle differences. These include a slightly lower radiator shell and scuttle, resulting in a slightly more downward sloping bonnet, giving the car a more sporty appearance. The boot line was also lowered a few inches to sit directly above the rear bumper blade, with the rear number plate and lighting arrangement moved onto the lower section of the boot. Inside the car it came fitted with a slightly leaner steering wheel as well as stalk operated indicators.
Chassis No BC31LAR which we are currently offering for sale is one of just forty-nine examples built to Design No 7508 in left hand drive on the S2 Continental chassis. It was originally completed in April of 1960, finished in shell grey with scarlet leather and supplied by Rolls-Royce Inc in New York to its first owner, Mr H.S. Davis of California. It was then purchased by the current family in April of 1974 and was used in and around the Long Island area between 1974 and 2003. During this period of ownership, BC31LAR was shown at concours level, winning best in show at the RROC Atlantic Region meeting in 1976. It was also repainted in black and retrimmed in beige during this time.
In 2003 the car was brought back to the UK where it was sparingly used and largely stored. Over the past few months, our workshop team have conducted a thorough mechanical and electrical review of BC31LAR, bringing it back to an excellent standard, making it reliable with correct and enjoyable performance. This two owner, low mileage car (84,000 miles from new) is fitted with rear parcel shelf air conditioning and is ready for the next chapter in its ownership history.
6.2 Litre V 8 configuration engine, 6,230cc, four speed automatic gearbox, power steering, drum brakes servo assisted