Lot 5

2021   |   Geared Online | June

1955 Bentley S1 Drophead Coupe

Coachwork by Graber


£300,000 - £400,000



Car Highlights

One of Two Such Graber-Bodied Bentley S1s Built, and the Only LHD Example
Comprehensive Restoration Completed in 2019
Understated Colors Complementing the Modern Lines
Delightful Combination of British and Swiss Automotive Excellence
A Rare, Custom-Bodied Bentley Well Suited for Shows and Touring
Register to Bid

Joe Twyman

Introduced in 1955, the Bentley S-Type followed the successful R-Type, incorporating significant improvements and serving as the firm’s sole offering for the next decade. Of the 3,072 S1 chassis produced, less than 5% were equipped with custom coachwork, most often by British coachbuilders. Offered here is a rare Drophead Coupe example, featuring coachwork by Graber of Switzerland.

The accompanying chassis card for B462LAN shows a chassis delivery date of August 8, 1955, destined for Bern, Switzerland where Graber fitted distinctive drophead coupe coachwork. The completed car was delivered May 5, 1956 with its first owner listed as Mme. Richepin-Meeking of Montreux. This body was one of only two built to this design, and as a Swiss delivery, it employed a left-hand-drive chassis equipped with a speedometer reading in kilometers.

Egon Schäfer acquired the Bentley in 1985 in Vevey, Switzerland, a short distance from Montreux. Mr. Schäfer imported the car to Stuttgart, Germany and the extensive file of service receipts document the care it received during his nearly three decades of ownership. It then made its way to England after being acquired by its current owner in 2014, who treated the rare drophead to an extensive restoration by Paulo Centazzo of Rome between 2017 to 2019. It is currently finished in elegant and appropriate tones of light oyster metallic paintwork with a beige canvas top. The interior of light olive leather and matching carpets provide the perfect accent.

The modern Graber design provides a clean, uncluttered presence featuring a straight-line profile complemented by a convertible top which folds neatly behind the rear seat with minimal bulk. When raised, the absence of rear quarter windows suggests a most intimate, private passenger compartment. The vertical chrome molding aft of the door is a trademark Graber touch frequently found on the firm’s designs of this era. Inside, the dashboard contains a full array of Smith’s gauges with separate power window switches placed outboard of the radio.

Complementing the coachwork are proven mechanicals, pairing the Bentley’s stout 4.9-liter inline six-cylinder engine with the General Motors sourced four-speed automatic transmission. Facilitating driving ease, this example is also now equipped with power steering.

Just two S1s of this striking Graber design were produced, with this example being the sole left-hand-drive version. Its stance perfects an unmatched combination of style and elegance that is well suited to the concours field, while its on-road prowess promises both driver and passengers a delightful grand touring experience, top up or down.

*Please note that this lot is currently located in the UK. A new DVLA-issued V5C is being processed and should be available shortly following the auction. For further information, please contact concierge@goodingco.com. Please note that the Seller of this Lot is a private individual.

Important Notice Regarding Registration Information: As set forth more fully in the General Conditions, the Buyer is responsible for determining the relevant taxes and duties payable, as well as any import regulations that may apply, and for examining any and all documentation pertaining to the title or registration provided by the Seller and made available by Gooding prior to the Auction, and for determining whether a Vehicle is or can be registered. To assist the Buyer in making such determinations, Gooding provides the information herein regarding the tax or registration status of a lot, as well as any ownership or registration papers that may be supplied with it. This information is provided solely as a helpful reference to the Buyer. It should not be relied upon or substituted for the Buyer’s own due diligence. Gooding is not responsible for any errors or omissions regarding information provided herein, as set forth more fully in the General Conditions.