Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Park Ward
Mr. W. Schweitzer, Colts Neck, New Jersey (acquired new via J.S. Inskip in 1960)Dr. John DeAngelis, Naples, Florida (acquired in 1988)William Farnbauch, Lake Worth, Florida (acquired by 1993)Nicolas Cage, Los Angeles, California (acquired circa 1998)Elton B. Stephens Jr., Birmingham, Alabama (acquired circa 2011)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
The Bentley S2 and its fraternal twin, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II, retained the basic chassis of its predecessors, the S1 and Silver Cloud I. However, in 1959, the venerable inline six-cylinder engine was replaced with a more powerful aluminum OHV V-8, the first V-8 engine offered by the company. The high-performance Continental model, offered only for the Bentley nameplate, rapidly developed a cult car reputation. Everyone who loved cars and driving them, and who could afford one, wanted a Bentley Continental.
Park Ward, a favored coachbuilder of Bentley, introduced a completely new Drophead Coupe body style for the new S2 Continental chassis, designated by Design No. 991. It was met with spectacular success. Norwegian designer Vilhelm Koren, working with Bentley’s own John Blatchley, adapted aircraft methods in constructing the new coachwork. Particularly distinctive is the Drophead Coupe’s “straight-through-wing” line with a single chromed styling strip along the sills. The front features peaked headlamp surrounds and the rear includes a cowled circular rear lamp treatment containing stop, tail, and reversing lights in a vertical stack. The convertible top is electro-hydraulically powered, lined with a padded cloth headliner with a zipped rear window.
Of the 124 Park Ward Drophead Coupes built on the S2 Continental chassis, just 65 were specified in left-hand drive. Included in this rare group is the Bentley presented here, chassis no. BC22LBY, which was ordered new for Mr. W. Schweitzer of Colts Neck, New Jersey, through the US distributor J.S. Inskip. According to factory records, this car was originally specified with a standard rear-axle ratio, power-assisted steering, heavy gauge frame, and factory air-conditioning – a rare option for the model. Additional special-order items included a speedometer in miles, larger-than-standard brake pedal, Wind Tone horns plus high-frequency twin horns activated by a foot switch, Blaupunkt-Köln AM/FM radio, and a power antenna. Originally finished in sand over beige leather, BC22LBY was delivered to its first owner in December 1960.
A US car from new, this S2 Continental was purchased in 1988 by Dr. John DeAngelis who had it restored to show-quality condition, refinishing the bodywork in the current burgundy over tan color scheme. Subsequent owners include Rolls-Royce and Bentley enthusiast William Farnbauch, Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage, and classic car collector Elton B. Stephens Jr.
Coveted by all who know the marque, this is simply the best of the best: the best chassis, the best coachbuilder, the best body style, documented provenance, and restored to a high standard. This S2 Continental Drophead Coupe is truly for the collector who seeks only the finest, most desirable examples of the Bentley marque.