The 1959 Bentley S1 Saloon / Photos, Specs, Styling Details

Shown here is a very elegant looking 1959 Bentley S1 Saloon (Sedan). The Bentley S1 was produced from 1955 through 1959. During this period only 3100 S1’s and 432 S1 Continental’s were built. All Bentley S1 bodies were hand built.

1959 bentey s1 specifications
1959 Bentley S1 Saloon

Bentley Motors Limited was founded in a north London suburb by W.O. Bentley and his brother H.M. Bentley. They built  the first Bentley automobile in 1919 an ultimately gained a reputation as a manufacturer of fine quality luxury automobiles.

Bentley’s New Owners

Bentley was taken over by Rolls Royce in 1931 and became a sub model for Rolls until 1970. The Bentley’s during this four decade period were considered rebadged Rolls Royce models.

In the spring of 1955, Rolls-Royce and Bentley announced the arrival of a new range of two essentially identical models known as the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and Bentley S-Series. These Rolls-Royce and Bentley vehicles were classic examples of badge engineering. You had two models that were basically the same automobiles except for grilles, hood shape, instrument panels and wheel covers.

The Bentley S1 however outsold the Rolls-Royce 2-1.

59 bentley s1 photos


Design Credit for the 1959 Bentley S1 

The design credit for the Bentley S1 is given to both the Rolls-Royce styling department and HJ Mulliner, a well known coach builder located in West London. Mulliner’s company had a long relationship with Rolls-Royce which spanned prior to the 1920’s. Prior to this, Mulliner’s family had a long storied history in the carriage building business with prominence coming to the family in 1760 when F. Mulliner was contracted to build and maintain carriages for the Royal Mail. At the turn of the 1800’s, H.J. Mulliner bought the family business.

It’s a true accomplishment, and an historic one, that this family business which began over 250 years ago building and maintaining coaches for the Royal Mail is still involved in the craft of coach building.

Rolls-Royce went ahead in 1959 and bought H J Mulliner coach builders and merged it into Park Ward, another coach builder owned by Rolls.

Bentley’s Early Victories at Le Mans

Racing and automobile competition in general was very important during the automobile industry’s early days. For Bentley this included racing at Le Mans. Bentley not only won at Le Mans but also was the first British automaker to do so. They had a most impressive five victories at Le Mans between 1924 and 1930. Bentley accomplished this with big engines. For their wins in 1929 and 1930 Bentley employed a 6 1/2 liter Speed Six which first came out in 1928.

1959 bentley s1 prices

1959 Bentley S1 Specifications

The 1959 Bentley S1 was built with a 298 cubic inch straight six. The engine was rated at 170 HP. The Continental came with a higher compression.

Transmission was a four speed manual.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums.

The S1 Continental version came with power assisted steering.

Front suspension included wishbones, coil springs, and a anti-roll bar. Rear suspension included a live axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs, and shock absorbers.

Dimensions included a 120.0 inch wheelbase, overall outside length 175.8 inches, width 66.9 inches and height 74.8 inches. Weight 3,750 lbs.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below..

1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom II

1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith

Reference material for this article…A 100 Years of Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars by Larry S. Glenn…Rolls Royce Silver Cloud : The Complete Story by author James Taylor.

The 1959 Bentley S1 Collector Automobile

The Bentley S1’s relatively rare automobiles today. Selling proces for the 1959 Bentley S1 model are in a range from about $30,000 to $60,000. You’ll also see asking prices below that range. The S1 Continental models have been sold generally in the $150,000 to $400,000 range. Some examples have sold for more. The selling prices take into consideration overall condition, restoration degree and model type.

It is said that the highest sale price for a Bentley S1 was $1,655,000. This was for a  1956 Bentley S1 Continental Drophead Coupe in August of 2018.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)