A 1956 Bentley S-Type Continental is set to hit the auction block at Bonhams. The S-Type Continental was previously owned by iconic photographer Helmut Newton between 1960 to 1972 and is only one of 26 examples that combined a left-hand-drive configuration and coachwork by H J Mulliner.
In the era of postwar automobiles, the Bentley S-Type Continental has been considered as one of the most elegant models in the world. Newton recalled the purchase of this car back in 2003 in his autobiography stating,
“It was early in 1964 that I decided I had to own a Bentley. I went to Franco-Britannic, the Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealers in Paris, and walked with the salesman through the basement garage, where the second-hand motorcars were displayed. I told the guy I had ten thousand francs to spend, and he showed me a number of clapped-out ‘R’ types. In the corner of the garage I saw a silver-and-blue metallized beauty. I said, ‘That’s the one I want’. He looked at me pityingly and said, ‘Monsieur, you don’t have enough money for that one. It’s Madame Peugeot’s car in which she goes golfing. The price is twenty-three thousand francs’. About a month later, on a Saturday morning, there arrived a check in the mail from the advertising agency Scholz and Partners. I had done a job for them, and the check was for the exact sum needed to buy that car. I hotfooted it to Neuilly, gave the salesman that check, and said ‘Give me that car, quick’. He looked at me like I was crazy, but I had the car and drove it home in a state of complete euphoria.”
With a nostalgic weight on the sale of the car, the chassis has long been synonymous with effortless high speed cruising. The S-Type was introduced in April 1955 and was considered the fastest four/five seater saloon in its day. The fastback on sale, chassis No. BC4LBG was originally ordered by Société Anonyme des Automobiles Peugeot for Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Peugeot. It was often used for golf outings for its capacious trunk. Records showed that the car was painted in two-tone silver and black pearl, with tan leather upholstery. However, today, the car is finished in silver with a cognac interior. It was believed to be reupholstered by Hermès in the 1980s. Its original engine was rebuilt in 2011 and has less than 1,864 miles on it since then. Alongside the lot, the sale comes with a signed copy of Newton’s famous Sumo coffee-table book published by Taschen. The Bentley is expected to fetch upwards of $1.6 million USD. Check out Bonhams for more details leading up to the auction at the Zoute Sale hosted by the house in Belgium on October 8.
In other automotive news, a 2006 Ford GT Heritage edition hits the auction block.