Bentley S1 Saloon and Continental (1955 – 1959) Review

Bentley S1 Saloon and Continental (1955 – 1959) At A Glance


+Even better to drive than before thanks to power steering, elegant and timeless in saloon form, beautiful as a coupe

-Now effectively a badge-engineered Rolls-Royce in saloon form

The Bentley S1 was a badge-engineered Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. As brutal as that sounds, it's no bad thing, given that both cars finally lost their pre-war looks, and gained a beautifully profiled full-width body that managed to look both timeless and contemporary. And today, they still turn heads.

The S1 was powered by the R-Type's straight-six, which had been enlarged to 4887cc. But it also gained improved brakes and front suspension, followed by optional power-steering in 1956, which really made these cars effortless to drive, despite their hulking near-two tonne kerb weight.

Alongside the saloon, came the S1 Continental, which picked up where the old R-Type left off - a beautiful coachbuilt four-seater, with a near 120mph maximum speed. They were constructed by a number of different builders – and were almost universally elegant. The best were the 151 fastbacks by HJ Mulliner, followed by the 99 Park Ward coupés. Both Mulliner and James Young built four-door versions, but it's questionable whether either improved on the original. Other special S1s came from Hooper, Franay and Graber did one each.

The Bentleys outsold their Rolls-Royce counterparts, so these are easier to find - and better value - today. 

Ask Honest John

What is the best lead additive on the market for four-star petrol?

"I have a 1958 Bentley S1. What is the best lead additive on the market for four-star petrol?"
We've always opted for Castrol Valvemaster, but there are plenty of options that you can try until you find the one that works best for you and your car.
Answered by Keith Moody

What do you think is the best classic car to buy for £100K?

"What do you think is the best classic car to buy for £100K? Which would be fun and not too expensive to keep and might increase in value?"
Whatever classic you buy, you'll need to budget for maintenance and running costs, but really the best classic depends on what you want to do with it. Fancy something for solely for investment purposes? Ferraris and Porsches are often solid bets - think Testarossa or 911 Turbo. A high days and holidays car to enjoy with your significant other might be a W113 era Mercedes SL or a Jaguar E-type. If on-track action is your thing, you may be able to get a race car with FIA Papers - there are a few race-specific auctions to keep an eye on. Alternatively, an iconic piece of American muscle car action is well within your budget (think 1969 Shelby GT350 Mustang). Prefer your classics older? Then a Lagonda 2-Litre could be a smart buy. Stately and smart? 1950s Bentley S1 Continental. Modern high-performance? Ford Sierra RS500. Just make sure that whatever you buy you do your homework... and enjoy it.
Answered by Keith Moody
More Questions

What does a Bentley S1 Saloon and Continental (1955 – 1959) cost?