1961 Bentley S2 Continental Drophead Coupe

One of 62 Park Ward-bodied right-hand drive Drophead Coupés from long-term ownership.Introduced in late 1959, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2 appeared externally unchanged from their Silver Cloud and S-Type predecessors, although their performance was considerably enhanced by the arrival of the new 6,230cc aluminium-alloy V8 engine. There were few significant changes to the running gear, although power-assisted steering was now standard and the manual gearbox had been dropped, Rolls-Royce's own 4-speed automatic transmission being the sole offering. The Continental version of the Bentley remained, as ever, exclusively a coachbuilt car. The firms of H J Mulliner, Park Ward and James Young all offered bodies on the Continental S2 chassis, which differed from the standard version by virtue of its four-leading-shoe front brakes, shorter radiator and, in later cars, higher gearing. James Young would soon cease coachbuilding, leaving only Rolls-Royce-owned Mulliner and Park Ward to carry on a noble tradition, with Park Ward building the S2 Continental Drophead Coupés and Mulliner the saloons.The history file documents lots of lavished attention on this venerable Bentley in later years, however its very early history is, as yet, unknown. In the file, there is an early MOT Certificate from April 1978, and many invoices addressed to a Mr Warriner of Kent by James Young of Bromley in Kent. Subsequently, it would appear the car’s owner relocated, as there is an invoice for an almost entire strip down by a garage in Newtown, Powys dated 1980 but nothing more until 1984, when the photographic file shows it in a stripped condition located in Shropshire, presumably lost to the sands of time or hiding in a barn somewhere.Fortunately, it was discovered by its next owner, Stewart John, around this time. He was the Director of Engineering for the Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airlines and was on holiday in the UK with one eye open for a project and this S2 was certainly that. The Bentley was duly acquired and exported on 11th September 1984, bearing the plate 26 HYW, and there are a number of photographs in the file showing the car being loaded here and unloaded in Hong Kong. Additionally, within the file are lots of supporting invoices showing the acquisition of parts and materials, flywheels, hood parts, hooding, West German Leather etc., all sent to an address in the city district of HK. Associated Engineering Limited were tasked with carrying out a full restoration and they worked on the car over a period of 18 months during 1985 and 1986, supported by correspondence and invoices in the file. The results were pretty impressive, and there is evidence that when it was completed, it won the Concours d’Elegance at one of HK’s major classic car shows.On a separate note, there is a letter to the Department of Transport by Mr John, asking that the registration of this car and another in his ownership, have their numbers retained on the basis that he intends to return both cars to the UK at some point in the future.At this point in the story, 26 HWY was acquired by our late vendor, who lived in Hong Kong in December 1993, at a price of £36,500, with its insured value at the time being $400,000 HK. It had been seven years since the restoration so he lavished some time and money on the car during its last eighteen months in Hong Kong, before returning, via Australia, with the Bentley to the UK in October 1995. Since being back here, the car has been attended to by recognised Rolls and Bentley specialists, with many invoices showing standard MOT and service work as well as recent expenditure on minor cosmetic paintwork, re-Connollised leather and minor detailing at a cost of over £12,000 in 2017 and 2018. Indeed, the MOT history shows the car having been tested every year since 2006 until its most recent expiry in 2021, with the mileage increasing by only a few miles each time.Ready for a sympathetic recommissioning, we believe that 26 HWY has been parked for around two years in recent times and, whilst it has had a new battery fitted and starts first time, it would seem sensible that a new owner would have the car properly inspected and prepared ready for the summer, when in its distinctive hue and with its glamorous, globe-trotting back-story, it will undoubtedly be welcomed at many garden parties, gatherings, club events and more.As one of very few Convertibles on the market currently and with many standard Coupés available at well over £100,000, our vendor has rightly chosen to bring this remarkable car to the market at auction to allow the world to decide just how special this car is.SpecificationMake: BENTLEYModel: S2 CONTINENTALYear: 1961Chassis Number: BC25CZRegistration Number: 26 HYWTransmission: AutomaticEngine Number: P3961Drive Side: Right-hand DriveMake: RHDClick here for more details and images