1958 Bentley S-Type Continental Flying Spur
One of 71 S-Series Flying Spurs
First owned by James Agg, Lambretta Concessionaires
Just four previous owners, the last for 27 years
Eulogising about Bentley's new 'S'-series cars, introduced in April 1955, The Autocar wrote, 'the latest Bentley model offers a degree of safety, comfort and performance that is beyond the experience and perhaps even the imagination of the majority of the world's motorists.'
Later, in October that same year, the Bentley Continental became available on the 'S' chassis, the model having been synonymous with effortless high speed cruising in the grand manner since its introduction in R-Type form in 1952.
The S-Type's new box-section chassis incorporated improved brakes and suspension and an enlarged (to 4,887cc) and more powerful version of the existing inlet-over-exhaust six-cylinder engine.
The Continental came with a higher compression ratio, shorter radiator and higher gearing and, for a time at least, could be ordered with right-hand change manual transmission. Independent coachbuilders continued to offer alternatives to the factory's 'standard steel' bodywork, perhaps the most stylish being those produced to cloth the Bentley Continental which was, of course, only ever available with bespoke coachwork.
Rolls-Royce had envisaged the Bentley Continental as exclusively a two-door car but late in 1957 the decision was taken to sanction the production of a four-door variation by H J Mulliner. Introduced on the S-Series Continental and known as the 'Flying Spur', this design was a collaborative effort by Rolls-Royce's in-house styling department and H J Mulliner, and bore a strong resemblance both to the two-door Continental and to existing coachbuilt four-door styles on Rolls-Royce and (non-Continental) Bentley chassis. To the Continental's existing qualities of pace and elegance, the Flying Spur added four-door practicality, a more spacious interior and a generously proportioned boot. Embodying all the splendour of the great pre-war Grandes Routières, the Continental Flying Spur cost £7,994 in 1957 – some 44% more than the S-Series 'standard steel' saloon or more than three times the value of the average UK house. Ownership of what was one of the most expensive and exclusive automobiles of its day was necessarily confined to a handful of wealthy connoisseurs.
Chassis number 'BC8EL' was supplied new to one such, the well-known car collector, James Agg, and registered to his company, Lambretta Concessionaires of London SW20.
Delivered via Bentley Motors in Fulham and registered 'VCR 100', the Flying Spur went with James Agg when he moved to Poole in Dorset and remained in his possession until the mid-1970s. Its second keeper was another famous motoring aficionado, Anthony Mayman of Henley-in-Arden, who acquired the Bentley in 1975.
Documents in the large file of history include printed copies of service records (it is assumed from Arnett of Bournemouth) for the period 1968 (at 26,000 miles) to 1989 (at 35,000 miles) when the car was bought by the current owner via Arnett for £62,000. Since then, the body has been repainted, the brightwork re-chromed, and the interior woodwork re-polished by Auto Trade Restoration of London NW10 at a cost of circa £20,000.
In 1990 the Bentley was despatched to renowned marque specialists P&A Wood with the intention of making it a 'serviceable and reliable car'; circa £15,000 was spent. General maintenance was then entrusted to local specialist Prescote Motor Carriages of Totton, Hampshire, which included a gearbox repair in 1994. McKenzie-Guppy & Sons of Blandford Forum, Dorset looked after the Bentley during the late 1990s, with P&A Wood assuming responsibility again in 2001, while in recent years the previous owner has used his own in-house engineer for routine maintenance and servicing.
'VCR 100' has taken part in various Club tours and rallies during over 27 years previous ownership and has always been extremely well cared for, sitting alongside a number of other Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars.